Atletico Madrid sporting director Andrea Berta has said the club should be able to keep Diego Costa and other sought-after stars for at least another year despite their perilous financial situation.
Chelsea are reportedly interested in bringing in-form striker Costa to Stamford Bridge in a 40 million pound summer move, while he has also been linked with Liverpool and Manchester United over recent months.
Atletico have seen some of their best players depart for the Premier League in recent years, with names such as Fernando Torres, Sergio Aguero and David de Gea leaving, but Berta told Italian channel Tele Radio Stereo recent successes should mean the pressure to sell has decreased despite the club’s 400 million euro debts.
"Atletico is a club which, due to its nature, must sell every year,” Berta said. “[But] we believe we can have our players at least one year more.”
Other Atletico stars, such as Koke and Arda Turan, are likely be the target of attention from elsewhere, but Berta said coach Diego Simeone’s influence was key to keeping the squad together.
“Diego Pablo Simeone passes on his characteristics to the players,” he said. “The group identifies with him, and with his charisma. He can make all the players be important inside the team.”
Meanwhile, Costa, speaking after picking up the La Liga Player of the Month award for December, said: "The team is in really good form, very united and with the same momentum, the same way of playing each game as if it were a final.”