Chelsea striker Diego Costa appears to have ruled out the prospect of a move to China, insisting that former club Atletico Madrid are the only team he would join if his three-year stint at Stamford Bridge were to come to an end this summer.
Costa was heavily linked with a move to Tianjin Quanjian during the January transfer window amid a reported row with manager Antonio Conte and fitness coach Julio Tous over a back injury and reports from Spanish radio station Cadena Ser claimed earlier this month that the two parties had reached a pre-agreement over a potential deal that would see him earn approximately €30m-per-year (£26.1m, $33.5m).
However, the Chinese Super League (CSL) outfit have repeatedly denied that they are in talks with Costa and last week released another statement to confirm that there had not been any form of communication or negotiation with the player or his representatives over the last six months.
Tianjin also said that they would be drawing up a "rational transfer plan" in order to meet new sustainability demands imposed by the Chinese Football Association in order to curb irrational spending and promote more homegrown talent.
Costa, who has two years left to run on his current contract, has claimed previously that he is the "owner of his future" and that does not mean that he is necessarily going to China. Addressing his situation again following Saturday's (27 May) eventful 2-1 FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal at Wembley that saw the 10-man Premier League champions miss out on the chance to do the double in their first season under Conte, the 28-year-old, who scored at Wembley Stadium, insisted that a return to Los Rojiblancos is the only transfer that would be attractive to him.
"I will only leave Chelsea for Atletico" he told reporters in the mixed zone, as per The Mail. "If not, I will stay here. I'm not interested in other clubs.
"I have a contract and no intention of leaving, but if there are changes to be made that might reduce my chances, if the coach won't count on me anymore or is to give space for another striker, I know that I'll have to leave. Everyone know what my preferred club is, there's nothing to hide.
"Money is good, but I'm grateful for what I have right now and I have other things to look forward to, like playing the next World Cup [in Russia in 2018]. I know that I have a chance to be called if I'm playing well and at a high level, that's something I want."
Costa has been open about his desire to rejoin a club where he scored 43 goals in 94 league appearances, won both the Copa del Rey and a La Liga title in addition to finishing as runner-up in the Champions League before leaving for Chelsea in a £32m deal back in July 2014.
The Brazilian-born Spanish international admitted in March that he was forced to go back to Conte "with his tail between his legs" after failing to secure a move back to Atletico last summer.