Chelsea are holding out for £44m from the sale of their striker Diego Costa according to reports today.
Costa was told by Chelsea boss Antonio Conte via text message last month that he was no longer a part of his plans, and that he was free to leave.
It is widely expected the striker will move back to his former club, Atletico Madrid this summer, before being loaned out until January.
The Independent claim that Chelsea have set their asking price at £44m, a fairly hefty fee for a player they actively want to get rid of you would have to say.
After being linked with some of Europes top strikers, including Andrea Belotti, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Sergio Aguero, Chelsea have announced they have reached an agreement with Real Madrid to sign Alvaro Morata, a deal worth an initial £58m, rising to £70m.
Morata’s arrival will now open the door to finally allowing Costa to leave.
Atletico playing the waiting game?
However, Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerazo has played down talk of an imminent move for the Brazilian born striker. He said:
“Diego Costa is a great player, he is magnificent, but at the moment, he is a Chelsea player and you know that we cannot sign him.
“I have not talked to him for a long time, for at least a year, since he left I’ve spoken to him very little.
“He was in Spain for many years before, he’s had a spell in England, learning English and I imagine he will return to Spain someday on vacation, why wouldn’t he return on vacation?”
The fact that Atleti are being coy on the potential transfer is no great surprise, especially considering the £44m asking price. The Rojoblanco’s were believed to be hopeful of securing a deal closer to the £25m mark.
They are of course in no rush to sign the striker, after all, he can’t play for them until January anyway.
It is Chelsea that want rid of him, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see this deal be dragged out a few more weeks, maybe even a month. Atleti will hope the longer it goes on, the more desperate Chelsea are to sell, forcing them to drop their price closer to the Spanish clubs valuation.