Report: “Unhappy” Diego Costa wants to leave Chelsea, return to Atletico Madrid

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Despite securing the Premier League title, being named in the PFA Team of the Season and scoring more goals than any other Chelsea player in his debut season in west London, Diego Costa is not a happy man.

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Costa, 26, is apparently finding it hard to settle in London and a report from Spanish publication Marca claims that he is “unhappy” with life in England and has approached his former club Atletico Madrid about returning to the Spanish capital.

Jose Mourinho’s side ripped the PL apart in the opening months of the season with a fully-fit Costa firing on all cylinder. But his nagging hamstring injuries returned in the second half of the campaign, plus his ban for stamping on Liverpool’s Emre Can and several other incidents involving, but not limited too, simulation, saw Costa quickly become public enemy number one in England’s top-flight.

With Chelsea winning the PL, poised to challenge for the UEFA Champions League next season and many believing prolonged success is on the way at Stamford Bridge, why does Costa want to leave?

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The Brazilian born striker first signed for Atletico as a 19-year-old and after various loan stints and a move away to Valladolid, he returned to the Vicente Calderon in 2010 permanently and flourished under Diego Simeone from 2012 onwards. Simply put, Costa feels at home at Atletico. He was a nomad for most of his career and after being cast aside by his homeland of Brazil he has since switched his citizenship to Spanish and seems to have a deep-rooted connection to Spain for obvious reasons.

Costa won the La Liga title with Atletico in 2014 before Chelsea triggered the release clause in his contract and came within minutes of winning the UCL with the Madrid outfit in the same season. His bond with Simeone’s side is strong and although success and fortune has followed him to Chelsea, if he’s not happy in his everyday life then that could be a big problem going forward. Costa is understood to have doubled his wages when he arrived at Chelsea from Atletico last summer for a fee of around $35 million, but Marca’s report states that he would be willing to take a significant paycut to move back to Spain.

Since this report was published, Chelsea have reacted by saying that Costa is “not for sale at any price” and it would be difficult to understand why they would want to sell the Spanish international who scored 20 times in 26 appearances in the PL last season. Without him, the focal point of their attack has vanished and they only have Loic Remy in reserve with Didier Drogba moving on to a new adventure this summer.

His value to Mourinho cannot be quantified and although the reports of him being unhappy may well be true, it’s unlikely that the Blues will let Costa leave and stop him feeling blue anytime soon.

Jorge Sampaoli resigns as Santos boss

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Brazilian club Santos confirmed Tuesday evening that manager Jorge Sampaoli has resigned as boss.

Sampaoli, who won the 2015 Copa America in charge of Chile but could not recreate that success with the Argentinian national team, signed on with Santos a year ago and guided them to a second-place finish in the Brazilian top flight, 16 points behind runaway champions Flamengo. His contract had another year, expiring in the winter of 2020, but with reports of offers from multiple clubs, he has stepped down.

The most widely reported destination is fellow Brazilian club Palmeiras, whom many believe Sampaoli has already entered talks with. He has also been linked with Argentinian club Racing, and his name has cropped up on occasion with the Arsenal vacancy, although that seems like a longshot. It was said in late October that Sampaoli had an offer from an unnamed La Liga club, but those rumors have cooled.

His reason for leaving Santos after just one successful season in charge is unconfirmed, but rumors are circulating that Sampaoli had incredibly ambitious transfer plans for the offseason, and when club president Jose Carlos Peres could not guarantee his support, the relationship became strained.

The 2019 season was mostly successful for Sampaoli at Santos, finishing second in the league table, but the secondary competitions were somewhat disappointing. They received a tough first-round draw in the Copa Sudamericana, falling to River Plate on away goals. They were also ousted from the Copa do Brasil in the Round of 16, falling 2-1 to an Atletico Minero side that finished 13th in the league table.

Tierney out months as Arsenal injuries pile up

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According to multiple reports, including Mark Mann-Bryans of PA Sport and Charles Watts of Goal.com, Arsenal full-back Kieran Tierney could be out up to three months after dislocating his shoulder in the 3-1 win over West Ham on Monday.

Tierney was withdrawn in the 29th minute after an awkward fall, using the bottom of his shirt as a makeshift sling. The club is still deciding on whether he will require surgery, according to Mann-Bryans, and that decision will ultimately determine the length of time he will miss. Still, even without surgery, it could leave him sidelined for a month or more.

The 22-year-old has struggled with injuries since joining the Gunners this past summer, missing the first seven games of the year with a hip injury. He has seen action in just five Premier League games thus far, and again could be sidelined for a significant spell. He could also end up missing Scotland’s critical playoff match against Israel in late March depending on his recovery timeline and fitness level.

Tierney’s injury is not the only one Arsenal is currently sweating. Granit Xhaka will miss the Europa League group stage finale against Standard Liege with a concussion, while Hector Bellerin is struggling with a hamstring problem. “Hector had a feeling in his hamstring during the warm-up [before West Ham] and we took the decision,” said interim manager Freddie Ljungberg after the win over the Hammers. “Not going to force anyone to play if they don’t feel 100%.”

Dani Ceballos is still sidelined with a hamstring injury suffered against Vitoria in October Europa League play and won’t return to training until later this month, while Rob Holding is a question mark this week after missing the West Ham game thanks to a bruised knee.

Arsenal, currently sitting ninth in the Premier League table and is scheduled to host Manchester City this coming Sunday following the trip to Belgium. They have upcoming games against Everton, Bournemouth, Chelsea, and Manchester United through the festive period.

Report: Leicester City looking to give Maddison, Soyuncu pay raises

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According to a report by Sky Sports, Leicester City has started negotiations with young stars James Maddison and Caglar Soyuncu about new contacts with increased pay.

The pair of 23-year-olds have current deals that run through the summer of 2023, so there is no urgency to lock them up long-term, but the Foxes are hoping to ease any lingering doubts about their futures at the club by rewarding good play on the field with a salary that fits the bill.

Soyuncu has been one of the league’s breakout defensive stars this season, partnering with veteran Jonny Evans to produce the Premier League’s stingiest defense thus far. The Foxes sold Harry Maguire in the summer for a record fee, and thanks to Soyuncu haven’t missed a beat.

Maddison, meanwhile, has proven himself the heartbeat of the Leicester City attack. He is assisting or taking nearly six shots per 90 minutes, and is on pace to score double-digit goals in league play.

The Sky Sports report says both club and players are “relaxed” about securing a new deal, given the lack of urgency required, but locking down the pair with improved salaries will ward off any significant noise about their futures – at least, for now.

The 2 Robbies podcast: Liverpool, Chelsea through to UCL knockouts

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Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle on Liverpool’s nervy 2-0 win against Red Bull Salzburg to take first place in Group E of the Champions League (1:55), Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Lille to secure a place in the Round of 16 (13:15) and who is the current favorite to win it all (20:45).

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Plus, what Arsenal’s come-from-behind 3-1 win at West Ham means for both London clubs (29:10) and the Robbies discuss what they’re looking forward to most at the next Live Premier League Mornings Fan Fest in Miami Beach (46:05).

To listen to more lively conversations and passionate debate from Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe, subscribe to The 2 Robbies Podcast on Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

And you can follow them on Twitter @The2RobbiesNBC here.

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]