Published On: Fri, Aug 19th, 2016

Atletico's Simeone admits Costa interest

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To see a list of completed deals in the summer window thus far, visit theScore’s Premier League transfer tracker.

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has admitted that former striker and Chelsea‘s current chief of all things cantankerous Diego Costa was the club’s main transfer target this summer.

“The club were working on the possibility that Diego Costa arrived,” Costa told Espacio Reservado, according to ESPN FC’s Dermot Corrigan.

Ahead of a third campaign with Chelsea after a £32-million move away from the Vicente Calderon in 2014, reports this summer suggested that Costa was poised for an exit.

After scoring the winner in Chelsea’s opener against West Ham courtesy of a deft piece of interplay between him and summer signing Michy Batshuayi, there appears to be room for both Costa and the young Belgian international in Antonio Conte’s squad.

It was Costa’s 33rd Chelsea goal in 70 appearances in all competitions, and amid the temper tantrums and infractions – with 19 yellow cards over that same spell – the Brazilian-born Spaniard has been a solid source of goals at Stamford Bridge.

Simeone said forward Kevin Gameiro, who joined the club in the summer from Sevilla, was aware of the situation.

“When that did not advance, we were always very clear with Gameiro,” Simeone said.

“I told him we were looking at getting Costa on board but that, of the alternatives given by the club, I had backed him completely. And we wanted him to be the forward to be with us this year.”

With Costa’s return ruled out, Gameiro will play his trade up top alongside Fernando Torres, with Euro darling Antoine Griezmann and Angel Correa assuming second-striker duties ahead of Sunday’s La Liga opener with Alaves.

Atletico president Enrique Cerezo also quashed talk of Costa’s return to the Spanish capital two weeks ago, and Atletico’s squad appears set days before the season kicks off.

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