Diego Costa looks set to spend the first half of the season away from Madrid after Quique Sánchez Flores omitted the striker from his European Super Cup squad.
The 21 year-old Brazilian is vying for the last non-EU spot at Atlético against fellow South American starlet Eduardo Salvio. Spanish league rules dictate that a club can only register three foreign nationals without a European passport to play for the team at any one time.
Argentine winger Salvio made Quique’s squad, and it’s now more likely than ever that Costa will be shown the door – until January at least.
The two nailed-on ‘foreigners’ at Atlético are Kun Agüero and Diego Godín, the new arrival from Villarreal. However both meet the criteria for a Spanish passport and have both submitted applications for dual-nationality.
If neither is approved ahead of the September 1 registration date, it looks as if Salvio will be the third non-EU in the Atlético squad and Diego Costa, along with youngster Leandro Cabrera, will miss out.
Marca is reporting that Real Zaragoza are the team most likely to snap up the unlucky Brazilian on a deal that will run until January, by which time los Rojiblancos hope both Godín and Kun will have received their Spanish passports.
The sportspaper also reports that both Deportivo and Mallorca are also possible suitors for Costa.
New rules in Spain for this season have changed the way the winter transfer window works. They used to prevent a player, once he had played for the club five times, from joining another club.
Luckily for Costa this rule has been eradicated. This will enable him to play the first half of the season away from Madrid, but free to don the rojiblanco shirt for the remainder of the campaign.