Transfer news: Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo warns Chelsea off making a summer move for Diego Costa
Cerezo believes that Costa won't leave the club this year despite having a £32m release fee in his contract
Wednesday 26 February 2014
Atletico Madrid have warned off Chelsea and any other clubs who may be interested in making a summer move for sought-after striker Diego Costa, with the club’s president Enrique Cerezo insisting that he does not believe the Brazilian will leave at the end of the season.
Costa has been identified as a potential solution to Jose Mourinho’s problems in front of goal, with the Portuguese recently heard criticising the poor form of current strikers Samuel Eto’o, Fernando Torres and Demba Ba.
Combined, the Blues trio have scored just 19 goals this season and despite Mourinho’s side sitting top of the table, only 11 of those have come in the league. Having been linked with a move for AS Monaco striker Radamel Falcao in recent weeks, it seems that Atletico want to further distance the Premier League leaders from their star striker while they can.
Chelsea do have the option of attempting to use goalkeeper Thibault Courtois as a makeweight in completing a move for Costa, given that the Belgium international has spent the past three seasons on loan with the La Liga contenders.
But Cerezo stressed that the club are not looking to sell Costa nor will they allow any bids to be downscaled with the inclusion of a player exchange, such as Coutois.
“I do not think Diego Costa will leave us at the end of the coming year,” said Cerezo. “Unquestionably, we do not want to sell him or use him as a bargaining chip for another player.
“Atlético is a company which, for its proper functioning, must sell each year. However, we believe in this case we can keep our players at least one more season.”
Costa does have a £32m release clause in the contract that he signed earlier in the season – shortly after Liverpool saw their attempt to land the Brazilian-born Spanish international fail when he would’ve been available for £27m.
Costa elected this season to switch allegiances from his native Brazil and play for Spain in the hope of breaking into the world champions first team, although injury robbed him of his first cap when he was called up by manager Vicente Del Bosque last year.
“It has been an important decision for him,” Cerezo said on electing to play for Spain. “He likes Spain, he lives here and he considers it a better option to be part of the current world champions, so if he does play he will do great.”
Given the limitations that are now in play from Uefa’s Financial Fair Play regulations, Chelsea could look to try and reduce a potential transfer fee by including Courtois, given that they already have a world class goalkeeper on their books in the form of Petr Cech.
Speaking about Courtois, Cerezo said: “He has a contract with us until the end of season. As everyone knows, Courtois belongs to Chelsea and he signed for five years with them and has been with us for three.”
Atletico have had a rich heritage of talented striker in recent years, with the likes of Torres and Sergio Aguero starring at the Estadio Vicente Calderon as well as Diego Forlan and Falcao. Costa has followed in their footsteps, scoring 27 goals in 35 matches this season and attracting the interest of the best club's in Europe.
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