Antonio Conte is putting his money where his mouth is this summer.
Despite managing the Premier League champions, the Italian has been subject to a surprising amount of pressure already this season. The situation is, of course, not helped by defeat in the Community Shield and to Burnley.
However, perhaps the most controversial episode straddling Conte regards the future of Diego Costa.
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The Chelsea boss has stuck his neck out this year in vowing to sell the club’s top goal scorer of the past three seasons. Perhaps even he didn’t expect the Spaniard to burrow himself in a Brazilian exile, however.
And despite offering the offering the forward an olive branch – subject to a number of conditions – Costa isn’t budging.
In fact, the man himself is claiming that Chelsea are pricing him out of a move to his beloved Atletico Madrid. With his career at Stamford Bridge dead in the water, he is hell bent on returning to Spain.
This is contrary to Chelsea’s preference of a move to AC Milan or China for which the transfer fee would be much larger. And when the Blues procured £60 million for Oscar using this method, it’s hard to blame them.
Costa is proving less amicable, though, and Chelsea are having to contact Atletico to dodge an avoidable drain on their wage roster.
According to AS, said talks have gone as far as agreeing a fee. Considering prices as low as £20 million were being mooted, the west London club will be rubbing their hands together.
Their Spanish forward could be returning to Madrid to the tune of £50 million.
Diego Simeone’s men will foot £41 million up front and will pay the remaining fee as a series of add-ons. Incredibly, it would see Chelsea make a profit on their want-away forward.
Due to the club’s transfer ban, they will be unable to register the forward until January. There is still a possibility for a loan move to be secured in the meantime, though.
This news will be greeted at the club with pleasant surprise considering their fears that his behavior would severely diminish his transfer fee. Both his comments and alleged weight gain were prompting great concerns.
It would finally put an end to one of the controversial transfer sagas of the summer and if Atletico really do foot £50 million, Conte might be laughing after all.
That is, if Alvaro Morata can score at least 22 goals this season to suggest an improvement. No pressure, kid.
Who would you rather have in your team – Costa or Morata? Let us know by leaving a comment below.