ATLETICO MADRID have terminated the contract of Diego Costa with immediate effect as Arsenal eye a shock transfer.
The Spanish striker’s deal was set to expire at the end of the 2020-21 season.
But with the LaLiga side keen to get his reported £270,000-a-week salary off the wage bill, there was talk they would permit him to leave for free in January as he skipped training on Monday to help resolve his situation.
However, Atletico Madrid today confirmed the decision to rip up his contract and release him now – the third time he has departed the club during his career.
He rejoined them in 2018 from Chelsea and managed 19 goals in 81 games in his latest spell.
He leaves with an overall record of 83 goals in 215 appearances for the Spanish side, winning LaLiga, the Copa del Rey and Europa League.
Atleti said: “The striker asked to leave the club for personal reasons a few days ago and on Tuesday signed the termination of his contract.
“The club wishes the striker the best of luck in the next stage of his professional career.”
Boss Diego Simeone added: “He gave us a lot and we gave him a lot. He needs a new challenge. I’m sure that wherever he goes he’ll do well because he’s a fighter.”
The transfer window reopens on Friday, giving the ex-Chelsea striker all of January to find a new club.
Reports in Spain suggest Costa, 32, would have to pay a staggering £23million to Atletico if he joined one of Barcelona, Real Madrid or Sevilla.
Radio station Cadena Cope added he would need to stump up £4.5m if a different ‘champion team’ signed him.