Diego Simeone's new deal not linked to Diego Costa - Atletico president
Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo has denied that this week's surprise contract extension signed by coach Diego Simeone is connected to Diego Costa returning to the club.
Earlier this week Atletico announced that long-serving and very successful coach Simeone had added two further seasons to his contract, which was due to end next June, and now ties him to the club until 2020.
Reports had claimed that this announcement may have taken place now as they had finally succeeded in their summer-long bid to get Costa to return from Chelsea to the club where he won the 2013 Copa del Rey and 2013-14 La Liga title.
However, speaking at the opening of a metro station close to the club's new Wanda Metropolitano stadium -- which is hosting its first game on Sept. 16 with Malaga the visitors -- the Rojiblanco chief said it was not so easy.
"We have not shown [Simeone] Costa's contract," Cerezo said. "What happened is that all contracts have an end date, and when that happens there are talks about extending them."
Atletico's efforts to re-sign Costa this summer were in part frustrated by a FIFA-imposed transfer ban which meant they could not register any new players until next January, while the falling-out between the player and Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has further complicated the situation.
Simeone's side did, however, sign Spain winger Vitolo from Sevilla for €36 million over the summer, before loaning him to Las Palmas for the first half of the current season, and also took in an estimated €69m from selling youth and squad players including Theo Hernandez to Real Madrid, Matias Kranevitter to Zenit St Petersburg and Oliver Torres to Porto.
Atletico have been linked with other big names, including Monaco midfielder Fabinho, and asked if his club was likely to be busy in the January window, Cerezo suggested business would be done.
"We could not sign players [this summer]," he said. "In January Costa could come, or many others."
Cerezo was also asked about reports in the local media that the Wanda Metropolitano could host a friendly game between Spain and Brazil during the November international break.
"Yes, it could happen," he said.
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan