Diego Costa could end his self-imposed exile from Chelsea with suggestions that he is increasingly inclined to return to London in a bid to speed a transfer to Atletico Madrid.
The forward has been in Brazil all summer after receiving a text message from the Chelsea head coach, Antonio Conte, informing him that he is no longer in the club’s plans.
The London club then secured Alvaro Morata for a club record fee in the transfer window as a replacement while allowing Costa to be absent from their preseason tours in Asia, believing that they would be able to strike a deal with Atletico for the disaffected player to move back to Madrid, whom he left for £32m in July 2014.
However, with the situation complicated by the Spanish club’s transfer ban and a compromise over a fee proving elusive, the 28-year-old refused his employer’s demands to return to Cobham and began training on his own in his Brazil hometown of Lagarto.
Costa is understood to be incurring fortnightly fines while he continues to remain absent without leave, and both clubs failed to agree a deal before the closure of the Spanish transfer window on Friday.
For their part, Chelsea had hoped to recoup as much as £49m for the forward’s signature, but can still negotiate the player’s sale over the next few months ahead of the expiration of Atletico’s transfer ban in January.
Still, both Atletico and Chelsea had informed player regarding the need for him to return to London and reintegrate himself into professional football, with Atletico — rivals in Chelsea’s Champions League group — keen to ensure he is fit enough to make an impact with them over the second half of the campaign.