Atletico president rules out Costa, Aguero returns
Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo quashed rumours the La Liga side could launch bids to bring back Diego Costa or Sergio Aguero should they get a transfer ban overturned.
Aguero has been dropped by Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola for Brazilian wonder kid Gabriel Jesus in City’s last two outings and hinted an exit was looming at the end of the season after Sunday’s 2-1 win over Swansea City.
Despite scoring 102 times in a five-year spell at Atletico before joining City in 2011, Cerezo criticised the Argentine for leaving the club on bad terms.
“If he had left in a normal and cordial manner then there would have been no problem, but I don’t know what happened to him,” Cerezo told Spanish radio station Cope.
“He left on very bad terms rather than as a hero.”
By contrast, Cerezo has consistently stated Atletico’s desire to bring back Costa, who fired them to the Liga title in 2013/14.
Atletico and the player’s wish for a reunion was rejected last summer by Chelsea and Costa has gone on to become a huge part of Antonio Conte’s side’s march towards the Premier League title with 15 goals this season.
However, there are doubts about his future at Stamford Bridge amid reports of a falling-out with Conte last month and reported interest from China.
“He is at a great club. They say he is going to China, but I don’t see Chelsea letting him go,” added Cerezo.
Any transfer activity for Atletico in the summer window depends on the club winning their appeal against a transfer ban imposed by FIFA for unlawful signing of foreign minors.
Atletico have already served one of the two transfer-window bans and, having seen cross-city rivals Real Madrid get a similar ban reduced to one window, Cerezo is hopeful the Court of Arbitration for Sport will grant them a similar ruling.
“We hope they lift (the ban) and we can sign this summer,” he added.
“We had the same problem as Real Madrid. If they have lifted it from them, why wouldn’t they lift it from us?”
Manchester United are meanwhile reportedly willing to match the 100-million-euro ($108 million) buyout clause for top-scorer Antoine Griezmann.
Cerezo is determined to keep him.
“Every time I see Antoine I give him a hug,” he said.
“Antoine is a fantastic player and loves life at Atletico.”
Cerezo added that Atletico will wait for a full judgment in the case against defender Lucas Hernandez for domestic violence before deciding what action to take.
Hernandez and his partner were arrested following an incident in the early hours of Friday morning.
Neither made a complaint against the other, but Spain’s public prosecutor has asked for both to be sentenced, with Hernandez facing a seven-month prison sentence and his partner a six-month sanction.
“When the judges have their say, we will give our opinion and say what we have to say,” said Cerezo.
“Atletico Madrid is against any kind of domestic violence.”