Costa ‘to be fined £23m’ if he joins Real Madrid or Barcelona from Atletico

Diego Costa will reportedly be forced to pay £23m out of his own pocket if he wishes to cut short his contract with Atletico Madrid early and make a move to their La Liga rivals Real Madrid or Barcelona.

Costa, 32, rejoined Atletico from Chelsea in 2017, and has scored 19 goals in 81 appearances in all competitions since then to help his side win a Europa League and UEFA Super Cup.

He has been a peripheral figure so far this season, however, making just two starts in La Liga after falling down Diego Simeone's pecking order behind the likes of Luis Suarez and Joao Felix.

With his contract set to expire at the end of the campaign, Costa was widely expected to leave in the summer anyway, but it is now believed he is keen to depart in January.

And according to Spanish outlet Cadena Cope, he missed training on Monday in order to try to find a resolution with the club.

They also report that Costa has a clause in his contract whereby he would be forced to pay a staggering £23m if he were to join any of the three elite teams in Spain outside Atletico: Barca, Madrid or Sevilla.

And he would still need to pay £4.5m to join another 'Champion' side, and £2.9m to sign for another less high-profile club.

It remains to be seen what is decided over the coming weeks, but some have suggested Costa could yet make an intriguing return to England.

Arsenal are among those to have been linked with the striker, who can boast plenty of successful experience in the Premier League having won two titles during his time at Stamford Bridge.

The move would also allow Costa to link up with his former Blues teammate Willian, and the prospect of a second spell in London is one which may well tempt the fiery star.

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