Former Chelsea midfielder and coach Ray Wilkins is disappointed by the club's sale of Diego Costa and did not want to see the fiery Spain international leave Stamford Bridge despite being an rather unwanted headache during the final months of his Blues career.

Costa's wish to return to Atletico Madrid was granted on Thursday (21 September) after Los Colchoneros agreed a £53m deal with Chelsea for the 28-year-old, who led Diego Simeone's side to a league title at the end of his first spell in the Spanish capital.

Costa had made no secret of his desire to leave Chelsea during the transfer window and staunchly refused to return to the club's training complex in Cobham after being told he was no longer required by Antonio Conte.

Wilkins, who enjoyed two spells as an assistant manager at Chelsea, admits that his former club have done well to recoup £53m for Costa, who arrived in the summer of 2014 for £32m, but is sad to see the two-time Premier League winner leave west London.

Wilkins does rate Costa's replacement and compatriot Alvaro Morata, who has impressed during the early stages of his Premier League, but will miss the Spaniard's brutishness and ability wreak havoc on opposition defenders.

"I'd prefer the player [Costa] to the money," Wilkins said on talkSPORT. "They have doubled their money but, as a player, the fella was a beast. He terrorised defenders - they didn't like him - and he scored goals.

"He was top drawer for Chelsea. I would like to see him still at the club with [Alvaro] Morata coming off the bench. [Alvaro] Morata is a good footballer, he has got great feet and is good header of the ball, but Costa was a pest.

"I just thought the fella was absolute outstanding."

Costa may return to Stamford Bridge when Atletico Madrid face Chelsea in the Champions League group stage in December, but he will not be able to face his former side due to Atletico's player registration ban.

Chelsea seemed to miss Costa's nastiness and presence against Arsenal on Sunday but will hope to further the banish the memory of the controversial striker with a win against Stoke City at the Bet365 Stadium on Saturday.

Diego Costa
Costa's return to Atletico was finally pushed through on Thursday. Getty