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  • Wantaway Chelsea striker Diego Costa remains on strike in Brazil
  • Atletico Madrid are hopeful of sealing a deal to re-sign their former player
  • Roy Keane says the Blues are better off without the 28-year-old forward 

Tom Bassam For Mailonline

Roy Keane has branded Diego Costa a ‘balloon’ as the Chelsea striker remains on strike in Brazil. 

Atletico Madrid are hopeful of sealing a deal for the castaway striker within the next fortnight but as of Wednesday, the forward remained holed up in his hometown of Lagarto.

Following an explosive summer dispute with Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, Costa has not returned to London since the FA Cup final in May and continues to be fined for his absence by Chelsea.

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Roy Keane has branded Diego Costa a 'balloon' as the Chelsea striker remains on strike 

Roy Keane has branded Diego Costa a 'balloon' as the Chelsea striker remains on strike 

Roy Keane has branded Diego Costa a ‘balloon’ as the Chelsea striker remains on strike 

Costa has not returned to Chelsea since May and he is being fined for his absence 

Costa has not returned to Chelsea since May and he is being fined for his absence 

Costa has not returned to Chelsea since May and he is being fined for his absence 

Sources in Lagarto say that Costa was still in Brazil on Wednesday morning but that he does intend to move to Madrid in the next couple of weeks in an attempt to force through a move.

After assessing Chelsea’s 6-0 win over Qarabag on their return to the Champions League, Keane offered a bizarre judgement of Costa, describing him as a ‘balloon’ and saying the west London club do not need the distraction of having him around.

‘They are better off without him,’ Keane said on ITV. ‘The guy is obviously big trouble.

Atletico Madrid are hopeful of sealing a deal for the castaway striker within the next fortnight

Atletico Madrid are hopeful of sealing a deal for the castaway striker within the next fortnight

Atletico Madrid are hopeful of sealing a deal for the castaway striker within the next fortnight

‘I know he has done well for them, but he looks to me to be a bit of a balloon. Get rid of him. Have players at your club that want to be there.’

Questioned by fellow pundit, Lee Dixon, whether he indeed meant ‘balloon’, Keane reiterated: ‘A balloon, yeah.’

Atletico and Chelsea remain locked in talks as they seek to thrash out the terms of a £50m deal before the clubs meet in the Champions League at the end of this month.

Atletico are under a transfer embargo until January and therefore Costa would be unable to play for Diego Simeone’s team anyway until the turn of the year.

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