Diego Costa Transfer Warning Issued to Chelsea and Arsenal by Atletico Chief

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistFebruary 25, 2014

Atletico de Madrid's Diego Costa takes part in a soccer boots promotional event in Madrid, Spain. Monday Feb. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Abraham Caro Marin)
Abraham Caro Marin/Associated Press

Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo has told Chelsea, Arsenal and any other potential suitors of Diego Costa that the prolific striker will not be sold anytime soon.

As reported by Paulo Freitas of Sky Sports, Cerezo spoke openly at the Complutense University of Madrid, revealing Costa will remain at the Vicente Calderon for the foreseeable future: 

"I don't believe Diego Costa is leaving the club next season, we won't sell him next season, but that won't stop other clubs from wanting him," said Cerezo.

Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail suggested Costa is "a primary target for Chelsea" at the conclusion of the January transfer window.

Although once heavily linked with a move for Manchester United's Wayne Rooney, the Englishman's decision to sign a lucrative £300,000 per week deal ensures Jose Mourinho will be forced to look elsewhere for his future forward—Sky Sports reported.

Chelsea have been linked with offering a possible swap deal including Thibaut Courtois for Costa's services, but Cerezo confirmed Atletico aren't interested in taking their loanee goalkeeper on a full-time basis if it meant losing Costa, as noted in Freitas' report:

"Undoubtedly we don't want to use any player as a bargaining chip for some other player," said Cerezo. "You can see this in that we never sell but other teams come for our players."

Gabriel Pecot/Associated Press

Costa has also been touted for a move to Arsenal, reported by Jack Wilson of the Daily Star, but Arsene Wenger's potential interest remained cool during a winter transfer window that only saw the Gunners sign Kim Kallstrom.

Atletico have grown used to losing their strikers over the years. Fernando Torres, Sergio Aguero and Radamel Falcao have all needed replacing across the past seven seasons, but the Spanish club have managed to replace world-class quality with another player of a similar ilk each time.

Costa is the latest star to lead the capital-based club toward glory and has scored 26 goals in 29 games across La Liga and the Champions League this campaign, per WhoScored.com.

Daniel Tejedor/Associated Press

He is pacey, powerful, aggressive and has a real willingness to work hard, features that define Diego Simeone's team as they reside three points off the domestic division's summit.

Costa's latest success came in Europe, where he netted the only goal of Atletico's 1-0 away win against AC Milan in the round of 16 first-leg tie at the San Siro.

Andrea Berta, the Spanish club's technical director, hinted that Costa is destined to leave at the conclusion of next season, per Freitas:

"We are a company and in order to keep functioning properly, must sell each year," said Berta. "However, we believe we can keep our players for at least one more season."

Gabriel Pecot/Associated Press

The prolific goalscorer would undoubtedly be an excellent addition to any Premier League side and has the confidence to excel in England. Although both Chelsea and Arsenal will have to bide their time, it may be worth considering a potential move this time next season.

If Berta's assertion is correct, Costa could well be up for grabs in the near future.