“Increasingly likely” Costa rejoins Atletico Madrid

AP Photo/Andres Kudacki

A transfer ban hampered Atletico Madrid’s pursuit of Alexandre Lacazette, but won’t stop La Liga’s red-and-white striped men from snaring an old friend.

Diego Costa is leaving Chelsea for Atleti in a deal worth around $29 million plus incentives, according to several outlets, and Marca says Costa’s arrival at the Vicente Calderon is “increasingly likely.”

Costa, who turns 29 in October, is not part of Antonio Conte‘s plans at Chelsea and apparently willing to wait until January to play again. Atleti was banned from registering new players — but not acquiring them — and unlike neighbors Real Madrid did not win its appeal.

The fee is, relatively speaking, wildly low even given the player’s mercurial reputation. He arrived at Chelsea from Atleti for about $42 million after a 27-goal season in 2013-14, and scored 59 goals in 120 matches (though his production outside the Premier League left much to be desired).

Chelsea refused to sell Costa to Chinese Super League interests in January, a fee that was rumored to reach as high as $100 million. The striker soured on the idea of China as 2017 wore on, and said he’d only play for Chelsea or Atleti. There have been reports of a potential loan to a CSL club from Atleti, though admittedly we’re unfamiliar with the logistics of that given the transfer ban.

This is a potential steal for Atleti, who will get a motivated, bruising, and probably brooding star in January.