Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa has dealt a blow to Chelsea's hopes of signing him this summer by expressing his desire to stay at his current club.
Costa is reportedly top of the Blues' wish list for the upcoming transfer window, and the Spaniard had seemingly offered Chelsea hope when he acknowledged the away fans after the two sides met in the Champions League semi-final first leg last week, as reported by Graeme Yorke in the Daily Mail.
The 25-year-old waved at the Chelsea fans who had been kept behind in the stadium and were singing at the player: "Diego Costa, we'll see you next year."
However, Costa revealed ahead of Wednesday's second leg at Stamford Bridge he could not understand them and says he is very happy at Atletico, per John Drayton in the Daily Mail:
The truth is that I didn't understand anything. I heard my name and asked what they were saying.
I can’t say I paid much attention to it. I’m very happy where I am now.
I’m not nervous. It’s a great game to be involved in and we’re going to have fun playing. It’ll be different from the game at home. They’ll need to open up a bit.
While Chelsea are second in the Premier League and aiming to make a third European final in as many years with a win over Atletico, their strikers have not been overly impressive this season.
Their top-scoring striker in the Premier League so far this term has been Samuel Eto'o with nine goals, per BBC Sport.
In contrast, Brazilian-born Costa has bagged 27 goals in 33 La Liga appearances for Atletico, per Squawka, and he has been a major part of their historic season which sees them sit top of the league.
The below graphic, via WhoScored.com, published before the first leg between the two sides, compares Costa's contribution this term to that of the combined Chelsea strike force:
It is no surprise then, that the Blues are interested in bringing Costa to Stamford Bridge to add some firepower to their attack.
The striker will be hoping to grab what could be a crucial away goal on Wednesday night as Chelsea and Atletico vie for the opportunity to take on Real Madrid in the Champions League final in Lisbon.
The tie is delicately poised at 0-0, and the first goal will be vital in West London, especially if it goes to Atletico as that would leave Chelsea needing two goals to advance.
Costa's declaration of contentment at Atletico comes as something of a blow to Chelsea on the eve of the tie, but he could inflict far more serious damage on his suitors if he can be the one to rob the Blues of the opportunity for a second Champions League triumph.