Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo has denied reports that wantaway Chelsea striker Diego Costa is closing in on a return to the La Liga club.
Costa arrived with his family in Madrid from Brazil on Tuesday with AS claiming that the Spain international intends to remain there until at least the New Year, fuelling speculation that he will complete a €60 million move to former side Atletico this week.
However, Cerezo told Spanish media: “If his family is moving [to Madrid], I do not know. What I know is that Costa is a Chelsea player and until January, there is time to talk to his club and with whoever else. We are not going to do anything until January.”
Costa, Chelsea’s top scorer last season, had been in his hometown of Lagarto, Brazil, since claiming in June that Blues coach Antonio Conte had texted him to tell him he was no longer part of his plans.
Atletico could not register new players during the summer window due to a FIFA transfer ban, which ends in January 2018, and have remained quiet during Costa’s standoff with Chelsea.
AS claimed on Wednesday that Costa watched Atletico’s goalless Champions League draw at Roma on Tuesday evening on TV rather than the other Group C game involving Chelsea, who won 6-0 at home over Qarabag.
Atletico failed to make the most of their chances in Rome with Roma goalkeeper Alisson making 10 saves on the night to deny them the win.
“We had clear chances and the only thing we were missing was the goal which is the most important thing in football,” Simeone said in the postgame news conference. “Their goalkeeper had a great game. We tried but we weren’t able to score.”
Marca suggested that the result in Rome would have been different if Costa had been in the Atletico team.
The publication has a photograph of striker Luciano Vietto with his hands holding his head after missing a chance for Atletico on Tuesday followed by the headline: “Would Diego Costa have missed them [chances]?” and then added: “Atletico missed the goal scorer they want to sign at the Stadio Olimpico.”
Tied to Chelsea until June 2019, Costa joined the club in a £32m deal from Atletico in 2014 and has scored 58 goals in 120 games, winning two Premier League titles and one League Cup.
Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.