Atletico Madrid are under pressure to seal the signature of Diego Costa after failing to land another of their key summer targets. The Spanish giants began the summer keen to sign Alexandre Lacazette, Sandro, Vitolo and Costa, with outline agreements in place for all four.
But Lacazette chose Arsenal over sitting on the Atletico sidelines until January, with the Court of Arbitration for Sport upholding their transfer ban.
And Sevilla midfielder Vitolo has now agreed a five-year extension to his contract after the Las Palmas president blabbed that Atletico were planning to have him loaned there until he could move to the Spanish capital in the winter window.
Everton offered Sandro wages of £120,000 per week to snub a move within La Liga and unveiled their £5.1m signing last week in another blow to Atletico’s ambitions of strengthening their squad.
Costa missed the first day of Chelsea’s pre-season after staying in Brazil, though the Premier League champions had not expected him to report at their Cobham training base and do not intend to take him on their pre-season tour of Asia.
Instead they intend to sell him to Atletico, and are holding out for £30m. With Diego Simeone increasingly agitated by his side’s inability to do business, the Blues expect Atletico to meet their asking price shortly.
Atletico have also called on old friend Jorge Mendes to seal a deal for his client Fabinho. The Monaco utility man is seen as an alternative to the versatile Vitolo and was being courted by Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United.
But while the Brazilian favoured a move to Old Trafford, the slow process of negotiations between Monaco and his suitors has seen Atletico gifted a chance to get their man and they bid close to £40m on Monday night – an amount close to what the Ligue 1 champions were asking for the wantaway midfielder.
Atletico sources point out that their key summer business has been securing the extended contracts of homegrown stars Antoine Griezmann and Saul Niguez, both of whom are wanted by Europe’s elite.
But there had been a hope that Simeone, who took some encouragement to remain at the club for the move to their new Wanda Metropolitano stadium, might have some new talent to work with in their bid to challenge for La Liga again.