Ex-Chelsea star Diego Costa still keen on free Benfica transfer but striker has THREE offers from South AmericaMay 19, 2021
FORMER Chelsea striker Diego Costa remains eager to join Benfica despite offers from three South American clubs.
The 32-year-old ex-Spain international had his contracted terminated at Atletico Madrid at the end of last year after insisting he wanted to leave.
And according to AS, Brazilian sides Atletico Mineiro, Sao Paulo and Palmeiras have all joined Benfica in declaring their interest in free agent Costa.
However, Benfica, who are third in the Portuguese top flight behind champions Sporting Lisbon and Porto, are still said to be the favourites to acquire the Brazilian-Spanish forward.
The striker's deal was set to expire with the LaLiga leaders at the end of the 2020-21 season.
But with Atletico keen to get his reported £270,000-a-week salary off the wage bill, there was talk they would permit him to leave for free in January as he skipped training to help resolve his situation.
And then the club made the decision to rip up his contract and release him – the third time he has departed.
It came just months after the arrival of Luis Suarez from Barcelona and just a couple of weeks before they acquired Moussa Dembele on loan from Celtic.
During his third stint at Atletico, Costa scored 19 goals in 81 games for Diego Simeone's outfit.
He re-joined the Spanish side once more after a spell in the Premier League with Chelsea.
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Costa spent three seasons playing for the Blues, winning the Premier League title in 2015 and 2017.
The boisterous striker scored 59 goals in 120 games for Chelsea before returning to Spain.
When his contract was terminated at Atletico back in December, the club said: "The striker asked to leave the club for personal reasons a few days ago and on Tuesday signed the termination of his contract.
"The club wishes the striker the best of luck in the next stage of his professional career."
And manager Simeone added: "He gave us a lot and we gave him a lot.
"He needs a new challenge. I'm sure that wherever he goes he'll do well because he's a fighter."
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