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Clive Rose/Getty ImagesChris Laker Featured Columnist - February 7, 2017

Chelsea will not sell Diego Costa to a club in China at the end of the season, according to Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo.

Costa was a star man for Atletico prior to joining Chelsea in July 2014 and has been targeted as the latest big-money signing for the Chinese Super League, a move Cerezo believes won't happen.

Speaking to Spanish radio station Cadena Cope (h/t Adriana Garcia of ESPN FC), the Atletico chief said: "It has been a while since I spoke to him. He is at a great club. They [media] say he will go to China, but Chelsea will not allow him to leave."

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Costa won the La Liga title in the 2013-14 season and also reached the Champions League final during his time at Atletico, who have often courted their former player.

"I would love for Costa to return, but it's not easy. He plays for a strong team, a team that is likely to win the Premier League," Cerezo told Cadena Ser radio in the same report.

"I don't think the big teams will allow their top players to leave."

Per, the striker was heavily linked with a move to Chinese side Tianjin Quanjian in the January transfer window.

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Blues boss Antonio Conte left the 28-year-old out of the Premier League match against Leicester City on January 14, but he has since returned to the fold and remains a key figure as Chelsea home in on the title.

Costa's famed combative approach has been aligned with a renewed focus under Conte this season, and he sits second in the goal charts with 15 goals. The forward's robust, aggressive playing style has allowed him to become a big success in England since his arrival three years ago.

However, it is debatable that even if Costa doesn't make a move to China in the summer, he will remain at Stamford Bridge.

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Although the reported Chinese interest hasn't appeared to derail Conte's plans, it could well be that the Italian wishes to call time on his talisman's career at the club anyway.

And if that proves to be the case, a return to Atletico could turn out to be a more likely option for the striker, and Cerezo will realise his dream of bringing Costa back to Madrid.