Diego Costa has decided to stay at Chelsea for next season, handing a tremendous boost to incoming manager Antonio Conte, reports The Telegraph.
The Brazilian striker has been widely tipped to leave Stamford Bridge in the current transfer window with Atletico Madrid reportedly keen to bring him back to La Liga.
Those links were strengthened further by the fact that Costa himself was believed to be unsettled in London after failing to adapt to the wetter and colder climes that England has to offer.
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And the chance to move back to Atletico, from whom he signed for £32m in 2014, appeared to come at just the right time. Diego Simeone made no secret of his desire to bring Costa back and had the funds to pay the exact same figure back to Chelsea.
But it appears that the chance to work under a reputable manager like Conte has convinced the 27-year-old to give it at least one more year. Indeed, it is claimed that he has told his Chelsea team-mates, who returned to pre-season training this week, that he will be hanging around for his third campaign in a blue shirt.
Costa failed to perform for much of last season and much of that was put down to a severe lack of competition. Radamel Falcao and Loic Remy may have been hungry for game-time but neither were able to come close to Costa.
Conte is going about fixing that problem in all the right ways. Falcao is gone and Remy is soon to follow. Meanwhile, Michy Batshuayi is set to complete a £33m deal from Marseille while Alvaro Morata remains a prime target.
The Italian coach sees the Real Madrid striker, who is available for £50m, as the perfect partner for Costa in a 4-2-4 system and is hoping to sign him along with another defender. Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly is his top target.
One for the future
Batshuayi scored 17 goals and assisted nine more in his breakthrough season in Ligue 1 but even he admits he is likely to play a bit-part during his debut campaign in west London.
Batshuayi said: “I’m very young and still have progress to make, but I’m a very technical player and like to use both feet.
“It’s a real chance for me and I’m looking forward to starting with a new club and new coach. It’s a great opportunity. It feels fantastic to be here, it’s a childhood dream for me.”
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