Rodgers’ Costa deal re­ceives a knock­out blow

Midweek Sport - - SPORT -

ATLETICO MADRID have given Liver­pool a ma­jor set­back in their bat­tle to lure Diego Costa to An­field.

Bren­dan Rodgers’ side made a £21.8mil­lion bid for the Brazil­ian for­ward last week, but the Madrid club in­sisted he was not for sale.

Now Atletico sport­ing di­rec­tor Jose Luis Caminero has re­it­er­ated the club’s stance on the 24-year-old, who scored 20 goals in all com­pe­ti­tions last sea­son.

Caminero said: “Diego Costa is a very im­por­tant player for Atletico, we value him very highly and we are con­vinced that this year he is go­ing to score a lot of goals with Atletico.

“He is an idol for the fans. He’s go­ing to stay.”

It is a real sucker punch for Rodgers, who was bank­ing on get­ting Costa in to re­place the want­away Luis Suarez.

Happy

Caminero’s com­ments fol­low Costa’s own dec­la­ra­tions that he was in­tent on re­main­ing at Atletico, who fin­ished last sea­son in third place in La Liga.

The club qual­i­fied for the Cham­pi­ons League, and were helped to win the Copa del Rey with Costa scor­ing the equal­is­ing goal in the fi­nal against Real Madrid.

The striker, who has just re­turned from Atletico’s pre-sea­son tour of South Amer­ica, said: “As I’ve been in Ar­gentina and

STAY­ING: Diego Costa Uruguay I’ve not heard any­thing about this.

“I’m happy here. If the club want me to be here, I’m go­ing to be here.

“The coach, Diego Sime­one, counts on all of us, not just me. He knows how im­por­tant it is to main­tain the squad. The fans know it as well.”

Atletico are des­per­ate to hang on to Costa af­ter top scorer Radamel Fal­cao joined Monaco at the start of the sum­mer.

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