Diego Costa has stoked speculation linking him with a move back to Atletico Madrid, posting an enigmatic message on his Instagram account where he appears to say goodbye to his Chelsea teammates. The Spaniard's post came just one day after reports in his home country claimed he had made a desperate come-and-get-me phonecall to Diego Simeone regarding a move back to the Vicente Calderon.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte had previously addressed this issue after reports in Spain suggested the 27-year-old was ready to hand in a transfer request and force his passage back to La Liga.
"Diego is our player. He is a fantastic player, a player with a fundamental importance and there is no problem," Conte was quoted as saying by the club's official website. "He stays with us, he is working very hard, he is very happy to work with his teammates and with me in the new idea of football. He is a Chelsea player."
Atletico consequently appeared to shelve the idea of signing Costa, amid suggestions they were on the verge of acquiring Sevilla striker Kevin Gameiro as a more affordable alternative.
However, Spanish newspaper AS claimed on Wednesday that Costa had told Simeone to put any deal for Gameiro on hold. Costa was said to be concerned about losing the opportunity to return to Atletico, amid Chelsea's refusal to negotiate his departure at any price. According to reports, Aletico had already made a €60m (£50.5m, $66.6m) offer, just two years after they sold him to the Blues for €20m less.
In a new twist, Costa has seemingly waved goodbye to his Chelsea teammates following the 1-0 victory over Liverpool in the International Champions Cup on Thursday (28 July). The Spanish striker did not feature in the match, but afterwards posted a of along Kenedy, Willian, Cesc Fabregas and Pedro, along with himself, captioned: "Thank you very much for all my friends!!!"