Diego Costa played a pivotal role in helping Chelsea win the Premier League title in 2015 and 2017.
The Spaniard scored 20 goals in each campaign and his on-field performances were rarely questioned throughout his three full seasons at Stamford Bridge.
Clubs don’t usually allow a regular goalscorer in his prime years leave but it says a lot about Costa’s relationship with Antonio Conte that the Blues have agreed to sell him to Atletico Madrid.
The news was confirmed by both clubs on social media, with Los Rojiblancos confirming he will undergo a medical this week.
“The agreement is pending the formalisation of the contract between our club and the Spanish international forward,” Atletico wrote in a statement.
“The English club has authorised Diego Costa to travel to Madrid in the coming days to undergo medical tests and settle his contract with our club.”
Falling out with Conte
Chelsea fans will miss the 28-year-old’s fiery attitude but his departure is softened by the presence of Alvaro Morata, who has made a promising start to life in west London following his summer move from Real Madrid.
Quite why Conte was so eager to axe the forward from his plans remains unclear. There were reports of a training ground bust-up but that seems something two professionals striving for the same goal could overcome.
Costa admitted in the summer that he wanted to return to Atletico but that was made difficult when the Spanish club were hit with a transfer ban.
That led to reports that Costa could actually return to the Chelsea squad, provided he returned from Brazil and showed he was ready to play once again.
What Thibaut Courtois tweeted on September 1
And Thibaut Courtois’ tweet from September 1 suggests Chelsea’s players were beginning to believe Costa could stay, too.
Mimicking Gerard Pique’s now infamous tweet before Neymar left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain, Courtois wrote: “SE QUEDA😂😂😂 @diegocosta,” along with a photo of the pair holding the Premier League trophy.
‘Se queda’ means ‘he stays’. Of course, that turned out to be untrue.
Chelsea have made a ton by selling players
Costa’s departure for a reported £53 million fee means the Blues have made £500m from selling unwanted players since January 2014.
Among those to leave in that time are Nemanja Matic (£40m), Nathan Ake (£20m), Juan Cuadrado (£17.3m) Oscar (£60m), Ramires (£25m), Andre Schurrle (£22m), Juan Mata (£37.1m), Romelu Lukaku (£28m) and Kevin de Bruyne (£16.5m).
Chelsea aren’t afraid to sell some really good players, are they?