Atletico Madrid have a plan to sign Diego Costa despite their transfer ban

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Diego Costa's future at Chelsea has become a whole lot clearer after his manager, Antonio Conte, texted him saying he must find a new club this summer.

Not exactly what you would call professional, but that's just how it is.

Luckily for Costa, he has plenty of options. AC Milan are reportedly in talks with his agent over a summer move, while China could still be on the cards.

Atletico Madrid are also said to be interested in re-signing the striker, who finds himself in his current position all because he met Diego Simeone for dinner last November.

According to the Mirror, Conte made the decision to ship Costa seven months ago after pictures surfaced of the Spaniard dining with his former manager, but only told him on Wednesday.

Costa recently expressed a desire to return to Atletico, too, if he was forced out of Chelsea.

"I have no intention of leaving, I'm very happy here," he said in May. "I have two years on my contract, but if the club want to sell me there is one club I would go to.

"Everybody knows the club I like. Atletico? Yes, everybody knows that, there's no problem.

"I will remain (at Chelsea) if there is intention from the club and the coach for me to stay, but if they want to sell me to bring in another striker, I will go."

There's just one problem where a potential move to Atletico is concerned for Costa: they're banned from making any transfers this summer.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) last week decided to upheld Los Rojiblancos' ban - despite their appeal - after they breached FIFA rules for transfers of foreign players under the age of 18.

As a result, Atletico cannot register any players until January 2018 and have been forced to end their interest in Lyon's Alexandre Lacazette.

However, according to the Evening Standard, the Spanish club have potentially found a loop hole to 'sign' Costa this summer, regardless of their ban.

The report states Atletico are looking into using their billionaire Chinese shareholder, Wang Jianlin, as a way of 'engineering a temporary move' to China - a loan deal of sorts.

Jianlin owns Chinese property company Dalian Wanda Group - which has a 20 per cent stake in Atletico - and has contacts in the Chinese Super League.

Should Jianlin forge an agreement with a club in China, it would then just be a case of convincing Costa to spend five months in the Far East before completing a dream return in January. Genius.

La Liga
Diego Costa

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