Doubts over the future of Diego Costa have been rumbling on all summer.
The controversial forward didn’t have the greatest of seasons last year, and has been linked with a move back to Atletico Madrid.
Diego Simeone wants his former striker back at the Vicente Calderon, but no one seems to know how close a deal is.
Costa recently posted a potentially cryptic Instagram photo, and it looked like the 27-year-old (yeah seriously, he’s 27) was on his way out.
And now, new Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has added to the rumours that Costa is leaving Stamford Bridge.
Speaking after the Blues lost 3-2 to Real Madrid in a pre-season friendly in Michigan, which was watched by over 105,000 people, Conte said:
I can say that today Costa is a Chelsea player.
He didn’t play in these games because of injury and if he solves the injury and I see in training that he is in good shape it can be possible to see him in the next game against Milan.
But I can say only this. I speak only for today and today Costa is Chelsea’s player. Tomorrow if you ask me if Costa will remain with us, I don’t know.
So that’s the Chelsea boss openly saying he doesn’t know where his player’s future lies, which basically translates as he’s close to a move back to Spain.
The quotes are especially interesting given Atletico have just signed Kevin Gameiro from Sevilla for €32m, which you’d think would seriously damage the budget for a bid for Costa.
But it looks like even that signing has not killed a potential return off, and Atletico could soon have one of their former stars back on their books this summer.
Premier League defenders can breathe a sigh of relief…