Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has said Chelsea striker Diego Costa was the club’s main transfer target this summer.
Costa was heavily linked with a return to the Vicente Calderon, which he left to move to London for €38 million two years ago, but the Blues declined to sell.
And Simeone eventually turned his attention to Kevin Gameiro, who arrived from Sevilla earlier this month.
He told Movistar Plus show Espacio Reservado, in quotes reported by AS that he had spoken to Gameiro, who rebuffed interest from Barcelona, to tell him to wait because Atletico were trying to seal a deal for Costa.
“The club were working on the possibility that Diego Costa arrived,” Simeone said. “Then, when that did not advance, we were always very clear with Gameiro.
“I told him we were looking at getting Costa on board but that, of the alternatives given by the club, I had backed him completely. And we wanted him to be the forward to be with us this year.”
Simeone has also brought in Argentina playmaker Nicolas Gaitan, 28, for €25m from Benfica.
“[Gaitan] is a fantastic player, and we wanted him last season,” the coach said.
“He could give us that final pass, that talent in the final third of the pitch, where it is so important for teams. He will need time, but we will get him ready to bring us a leap in quality.”
Last month, Atletico president Enrique Cerezo denied quotes attributed to him that the club were “close” to signing Costa.
Italian outlet Gazzamercato quoted Cerezo as saying: “We like [Costa] a lot, I admit it. We have spoken to the player and we’re working to bring him back to Madrid. It’s close, but I can’t say any more than that.”
However, the president later denied saying a deal was near and told AS: “I do not speak of players at other clubs.”
Support InfoStride News' Credible Journalism: Only credible journalism can guarantee a fair, accountable and transparent society, including democracy and government. It involves a lot of efforts and money. We need your support. Click here to Donate