By Editor Wayne Veysey
Diego Costa is ready to quit Chelsea at the end of the season – and could be part-exchanged with Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann, Football Insider sources understand.
Costa has told friends that he is struggling to adapt to life in England 15 months after his £35million transfer from Atletico Madrid and feels he is being forced out of the Premier League because of his robust style of play.
Sources have told Football Insider that Costa could be ready to push for a transfer from Stamford Bridge if there is interest in him from one of the leading Spanish clubs.
One potential avenue is former club Atletico, who could be in the market for a new forward if Griezmann leaves next year.
The Frenchman, 24, is being closely monitored by Chelsea on the back of a number of goal-drenched seasons in La Liga.
Griezmann had a £57million buy-out clause inserted in the new Atletico contract he signed in the summer but that figure would not put off the Premier League club.
Chelsea are aware that Costa, who has scored just three goals this season, is not settled in England.
The 26-year-old shares the same agent in Jorge Mendes as Jose Mourinho but is understood to have a strained relationship with his manager, partly as a result of his hamstring troubles in the second half of last season.
Despite his on-field success, Costa struggled to settle in London during his debut season and misses life in Spain, where he moved to from Brazil, via a season in Portugal, as a 19-year-old.
Costa is widely regarded as one of the outstanding centre-forwards in the Premier League.
He made a sensational start to his Chelsea career and was a key figure in team’s title success last season, contributing an impressive 20 goals in 26 league matches.
But the Brazilian-born forward has been less influential in this second campaign, scoring just three goals in 12 matches this season. In total, he has scored 23 goals in 49 Chelsea matches.
Quizzed recently about returning to Atletico at some point, Costa refused to rule out the possibility.
“How am I supposed to go back to Atleti if no one’s made me an offer,” he said, according to Spanish publication AS.
The Costa Chelsea situation could prove another headache for Mourinho following the team’s disastrous start to the season, which has led to speculation about the manager’s job.