Striker almost left for Atletico Madrid last summer and has been linked with the Chinese Super League
DIEGO COSTA has been spotted meeting with super agent Jorge Mendes and a group of businessmen at an exclusive Knightsbridge restaurant.
The Chelsea striker almost left the Blues for Atletico Madrid last summer and has long been linked with a move to the Chinese Super League.
In exclusive pictures obtained by SunSport, Costa was snapped at Italian eatery Signor Sassi sitting alongside Mendes, who also represents Jose Mourinho and Cristiano Ronaldo, and a group of suited men.
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A fellow diner told SunSport: “I would say there were about 10 people at the table, four Asian men on one side and then Jorge Mendes on the other with his people and then Diego at the end.
“They were all drinking large magnum bottles of red wine, including Diego, and were eating lobster pasta.
“There were lots of toasts being made and then they had pictures with Diego.
“We left the restaurant around 10pm and they were still there enjoying their dinner.”
It is not known what was the purpose of the dinner or whether it was connected with any possible future move by Costa.
There is no suggestion that Costa or anyone else involved was breaching football rules or behaving improperly.
The Spanish striker, 28, is Chelsea’s top scorer this season with 20 goals but has never seemingly settled into life in London.
Only last week Shu Yuhui, the billionaire owner of Tianjin Quanjian told Chinese media that the club “are still working on a deal to sign Costa.”
Tianjin have previously offered to TRIPLE Costa’s wages, while Chelsea could net around £80million in transfer fees.
Three other Chinese clubs, Guangzhou Evergrande, Hebei China Fortune and Jiangsu Suning are also believed to be interested in the striker.
Some reports claim that Costa will become football’s top earner if he decides on a move to China.
During the last international break in March, Costa sparked more exit rumours after he told Spanish media that he cannot “rule out anything” when asked whether he might fancy a move.
“Anything can happen. Why not? You never know,” he said.
“Now I’m happy at Chelsea but if tomorrow the Chinese come and Chelsea tell me I have to go, I will no longer want to stay with them.
“I can go to China or another side.”
The 28-year-old also failed to rule out a move to Ligue 1 with Paris Saint-Germain or Marseille.
Costa joined Chelsea in summer 2014 and has scored 57 goals in 115 matches for the Blues but has often run into trouble with authorities.
He admitted that he wanted a return to Atletico Madrid last summer because of the unfair treatment he felt he got from refs – but when the deal fell through he had to “go to [Antonio] Conte with my tail between my legs.”
He said: “I wanted to leave this season because of this, at the beginning of the season I was looking for a way back to Madrid at Atletico because I felt like here they didn’t let me play.
“For the smallest thing they ban me for three matches.
“I was nervous on the pitch because I was worried that I could be punished at any given moment.”
He was also involved in a huge training ground bust-up with Antonio Conte in January after fears that an offer from China had turned his head.
Conte ordered Costa to train alone for three days and also dropped him for the game against Leicester City.
Player and coach have since made up but Costa’s seeming willingness to leave Stamford Bridge has never appeared to be far from the surface.
Both Chelsea and Jorge Mendes were invited to comment but declined.