Chelsea Transfer News: January Move for Diego Costa Planned by Atletico Madrid

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistSeptember 8, 2017

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 27:  Diego Costa of Chelsea celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 1-1 during the Emirates FA Cup Final match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on May 27, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo has said he is hopeful his club will sign Chelsea forward Diego Costa in January.

Currently under a FIFA-imposed registration ban, Atleti failed to re-sign Costa, 28, in the summer, but Cerezo said the Madrid club will return for the Spain international in the new year, per Joe Short in the Express: "We cannot sign anyone until January, hopefully by then Costa and many others will come."

Short added Atletico tried to tempt Chelsea to sell striker Costa with a £25 million offer in the summer, but the Blues wanted £50 million for the player, who was told he was not in manager Antonio Conte's plans.

If the Spanish side had been successful in signing Costa before the start of the new season, they would not have been able to field him due to their ban, but the sanction will no longer be in place come the January transfer window.

Costa tried to force a move away from Stamford Bridge—where he moved to from Atleti in 2014—by effectively going on strike in his birth country of Brazil during the summer, but reports have suggested he may return to the Chelsea fold, per Matt Law in The Telegraph.

As well as Atletico, Costa has also been linked with Turkish clubs Fenerbahce and Besiktas, per Bleacher Report's Dean Jones and Sky Sports News' Bryan Swanson:

In the long term, though, it is clear his preference is to return to Madrid, as he told the Daily Mail's Adam Crafton in August: "My desire is to go to Atletico. ... I have rejected other offers. They want to sell me to China or other teams. The language is better for me in Spain. If I'm off, I'm going to the club I want to go to, not the club that's paying the most."

It seems clear Atleti want him back and Chelsea want to get rid of him, so a move for Costa to Madrid in January looks inevitable assuming a fee can be decided.