Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo has admitted that the club would “love” to re-sign Diego Costa, but does not expect Chelsea to let him go.
Costa was linked with a return to the Spanish club last season, but a move never materialised after Antonio Conte took charge of the Blues.
The 28-year-old has been in positive form, scoring 15 Premier League goals so far this season.
In January, Costa attracted attention from the Chinese Super League and there were doubts over his commitment after having an alleged bust-up with Conte on the training field.
He stayed put in the end, and Cerezo believes that it will be difficult for any club to prise Costa away from Stamford Bridge in the summer.
While speaking to Spanish radio, Cerezo said:
“It has been a while since I spoke to him. He is at a great club. They [media] say he will go to China, but Chelsea will not allow him to leave.
“I would love for Costa to return but it’s not easy. He plays for a strong team, a team that is likely to win the Premier League. I don’t think the big teams will allow their top players to leave.”
Things can turn very quickly in football, particularly when it comes to transfers.
Costa admitted at the start of the season that he considered returning to Atletico last summer following a disastrous season for Chelsea.
It is unlikely that he will want to force through a move in the next transfer window if the Blues end up winning the Premier League title, and they look on course to do so as they currently hold a nine-point lead.
The lure of a former club and the chance to live again in Spain may be a temptation for the striker.
Also, his future could very much depend on who Chelsea sign in the summer and if his place up front will be heavily challenged.
At the moment, Costa and the Blues seem like a perfect fit and it wouldn’t make sense for the partnership to end just yet.