Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Atletico Talks over Costa Get Serious as Chelsea Close in on PS40m Ox; in Association With

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Atletico Talks over Costa Get Serious as Chelsea Close in on PS40m Ox; in Association With

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon Johnson Football Correspondent

CHELSEA have stepped up talks with Atletico Madrid over rebel Diego Costa as they attempt to complete a PS40 million deal for Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Costa has been AWOL in Brazil for the past six weeks and has ignored Chelsea's instructions to return.

The 28-year-old has complained about his treatment, claiming coach Antonio Conte first told him he was no longer wanted via a text message in June. Conte insisted Costa was informed in January that he would be sold in the summer and signed Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid as his replacement last month.

Atletico, who are unable to register any new players until January due to a FIFA ban, had hoped to capitalise on the situation to buy for a lower price. The La Liga club sold the Spain international to Chelsea for PS32m in 2014 but until recently had been prepared to pay only PS26m.

Chelsea have been demanding PS50m and Atletico are finally ready to make a higher bid, with a fee of PS41m likely to secure the move.

Atletico midfielder Koke hopes a deal can be concluded soon, saying: "We all want Diego Costa to come, but the situation is complicated. If Diego comes it would be very exciting."

As Standard Sport revealed last week, Atletico face competition from Marseille and Monaco, but Costa has made it clear he only wants to return to his former club.

Both Ligue 1 clubs might be a loan option for Costa until January, when he would be able to officially start playing for Diego Simeone's side.

Everton have also expressed an interest and Chelsea could use that as leverage in any bid for Ross Barkley, who is also a target for Tottenham.

Barkley is not an immediate priority for Chelsea, though, as they want to complete the signing of Oxlade-Chamberlain as quickly as possible.

The 24-year-old is with the England squad at St George's Park preparing for the World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovakia. …

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