Atletico Madrid’s pursuit of Diego Costa has certainly gathered pace in recent days.
The reports were fuelled after Atleti president, Enrique Cerezo, spoke openly about the prospect of re-signing the striker.
"We like him a lot, I'll admit," Cerezo was quoted as saying. "We are talking to the player and working on him returning to Madrid. It's close, but I can't say anymore."
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Those comments certainly angered Chelsea with The Sun claiming that the Blues were considering reporting the Spanish club to FIFA due to their approaches, while Conte said: “It is normal to ask for respect.
“I don’t know this situation but I know myself, my attitude and behaviour, that I don’t like to speak about the players of other clubs.
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“I’d like that others don’t speak of the players of my team. I know this period is strange. We respect all — but we want respect.”
It was believed that Diego Simeone’s side submitted a £50 million bid for Costa that was subsequently rejected, but that wasn’t going to be the end of it, was it?
Well, actually, it is. That’s because Atleti have finally received the message that Costa is not for sale and have confirmed they will no longer attempt to resign him.
Cerezo's latest comments
Cerezo said, per the Evening Standard: "Diego is a great player, who is very much loved, but he is a Chelsea player.
"The issue is as it was six months ago or even a year ago, he is a Chelsea player. I've always said that Costa is a Chelsea player and has a contract with Chelsea. That's the end of this issue.
"The day we have a number nine we will announce it. We are looking for one and once we have him, we will announce it."
The Brazilian-born forward joined west London from Atletico in 2014 for £32 million and the Champions League runners-up made the controversial striker their top priority this summer.
Conte wins the battle with Simeone
But with new manager Antonio Conte seemingly keen to keen Costa at the club - despite the singing of Michy Batshuayi for £33 million - it appears the Italian has won the battle with Simeone.
Conte will be hoping his reluctance to sell Costa proves to be the right decision. The 27-year-old suffered a fairly disappointing campaign last term, scoring 16 goals in 41 appearances in all competitions. However, the Italian is aware Costa could provide that competitive streak that Conte is likely to install at Chelsea next season.
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