DIEGO COSTA has reportedly emerged as a shock transfer target for Qatar side Al Rayyan but Atletico Madrid are desperate to keep the star until the summer.
The Spanish bad-boy looked set to leave Diego Simeone’s side for the second time in August after the arrivals of Joao Felix and Alvaro Morata.
1 Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa is attracting interest from the Middle EastCredit: Getty – Contributor
The 30-year-old's relationship with club bosses also deteriorated after he was handed an eight-match ban by La Liga authorities for verbally abusing a referee last term.
But now Costa has been the chance to reinvigorate his career in the Middle East with Al Rayyan holding negotiations with Atletico, according to AS Diario.
The Qatar-based outfit view the Brazilian-born striker as a viable alternative to Juventus forward Mario Mandzukic after they failed to land the Croatian this summer.
Al Rayyan are thought to be keen on a January move for Costa, who is under contract at the Wanda Metropolitano until 2021.
Yet Atletico are not open to losing an experienced member of the squad mid-season and would rather he engineer a move away next summer.
LADBROKES 1-2-FREE Simply predict West Ham vs Palace, Saints vs Chelsea and Newcastle vs Man Utd scores this weekend and win £100
Most Read in FootballOutron Keane claims he only played with five world-class players at Man Utd VAR YOU SERIOUS? Ole fumes as Auba goal given by VAR after one of worst offside calls EVER Honda Replay Japanese legend Honda offers to play for Man Utd and help Ole in Twitter plea KEOGH KO Keogh out for 15 MONTHS with two ACL injuries after horror car crash KEANE TO MAKE UP Keane in rare Fergie tribute as he reveals heartache of letting him down CommentNEIL CUSTIS All that remains of Fergie's legacy at Man Utd is the stand bearing his name
The La Liga giants could take a hit on the £57million they paid Chelsea after Costa fell out with Antonio Conte and was frozen out by the Italian.
The Spanish international scored 58 goals during three seasons at Stamford Bridge on route to winning the title twice.
But Costa has managed just six La Liga goals since he returned to Spain with question marks remaining over his suitability.