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Atletico Madrid chief talks down move for Chelsea's Costa

By Jack Austin

Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo insists Chelsea will not allow Diego Costa to move to China, but would "love" to see him return to the Vicente Calderon.

Costa was linked with a switch to the Chinese Super League in January after a training ground row with manager Antonio Conte, which led to him being dropped for a week.

The 28-year-old, whose current contract expires in June 2019, wanted to return to Atletico last summer and is rumoured to seek the same move again at the end of the season.

However, it was reported this week that Chinese club Tianjin Quanjian had reached a pre-contract agreement with Costa - claims which have since been denied and Cerezo can't see Costa following former Chelsea teammate Oscar to China.

"It has been a while since I spoke to him. He is at a great club," Cerezo said.

"They [media] say he will go to China, but Chelsea will not allow him to leave.

"I would love for Costa to return but it's not easy. He plays for a strong team, a team that is likely to win the Premier League.

"I don't think the big teams will allow their top players to leave."

Atletico are expected to try and re-sign Costa this summer, regardless of Cerezo's comments about Chelsea's unwillingness to sell.

The La Liga side are poised to have around £84m to play with should striker Antoine Griezmann join Manchester United in the summer.

Griezmann's commercial advisor talked up a move to Old Trafford this week, and spoke of his client emulating United great David Beckham by wearing the No 7 shirt.

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