Chelsea in­clude Costa in their 25-man squad

The Star (Kenya) - - Sports | International Football - BY ADAM CRAFTON/

Chelsea have taken the shock de­ci­sion of in­clud­ing cast­away striker Diego Costa in their Premier League squad.

Costa is cur­rently holed up in his home­town of La­garto in Brazil and re­fus­ing to re­turn to Chelsea af­ter a ma­jor fall­out with man­ager An­to­nio Conte at the start of the sum­mer. Atletico Madrid were con­tin­u­ing to ne­go­ti­ate with Chelsea on Thurs­day as they sought to se­cure the trans­fer be­fore the Span­ish trans­fer win­dow closes on Fri­day night.

How­ever, sev­eral sources in Spain felt the deal ap­peared un­likely to go through in time. Atletico are un­der a trans­fer em­bargo un­til Jan­uary and there­fore Costa would be un­able to play for Diego Sime­one’s team un­til the turn of the year.

As such, Atletico do not see a rush to cut a deal but talks con­tinue over a £45m (Sh6bn) trans­fer.

Chelsea boss An­to­nio Conte has re­peat­edly said this sum­mer that Costa ‘is in the past’ so it is there­fore sur­pris­ing that the club have now reg­is­tered the player in their 25-man squad for the Premier League. Costa’s regis­tra­tion of­fers the hy­po­thet­i­cal pos­si­bil­ity of a shock life­line but more real­is­ti­cally, it is the lat­est move by Chelsea amid a pos­si­ble le­gal bat­tle.

Costa al­leged in an in­ter­view that Conte ended his Chelsea ca­reer by text mes­sage, that the club are treat­ing him ‘like a crim­i­nal’ and that he would be iso­lated from the squad and forced to train with the re­serves if he re­turns. Costa went on to threaten le­gal ac­tion if Chelsea do not al­low him a re­turn to Atletico.

While the man­ager has been dis­mis­sive, the club have taken steps to calm the sit­u­a­tion by en­cour­ag­ing Costa to re­turn and get him­self into the cor­rect shape for first-team con­tention. One line of thought is that Chelsea are seek­ing to pro­tect them­selves. Should Costa claim that Chelsea are not pro­vid­ing the con­di­tions for him to ful­fil the terms of his con­tract as a first-team pro­fes­sional, then the club can now state that he was reg­is­tered in the of­fi­cial Premier League squad.

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