Liverpool target Costa to stay with Atletico Madrid

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Liverpool have been dealt a seemingly significant blow in their pursuit of Diego Costa after Atletico Madrid confirmed the Brazil international will stay at the Vicente Calderon beyond the summer transfer deadline.

The respective arrivals of David Villa and Leo Baptistao in Madrid have prompted speculation that Costa could be sold, and Liverpool had looked to take advantage of his uncertain position with the Spanish club.

Liverpool were widely reported to have made a formal attempt to bring the 24-year-old to Anfield last week, with the Reds having been credited with a bid worth £21.8 million.

Atletico, however, harbour no desire to allow Costa to leave the club and sporting director Jose Luis Caminero has ruled out the prospect of the forward joining the Brendan Rodgers revolution in Liverpool.

"Yes, he's going to continue," Caminero told AS on the subject of Costa.

"Diego Costa is a very important player for Atletico, we value him very highly and we are convinced that this year he is going to score a lot of goals with Atletico. He is an idol for the fans."

Liverpool's move for Costa appeared to suggest the club are planning for life without Luis Suarez, who has been the subject of interest from both Arsenal and Real Madrid this summer.

Arsenal have seen two bids for the Uruguay international rejected, with the last offer from the Gunners in excess of £40 million.

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