Diego Costa will only play for Chelsea again on one condition

Jan 17, 2017, 00:23

Chelsea, for their part, are keen to hold onto Costa for at least the remainder of the season but could reassess their position in the summer.

Costa has been arguably the outstanding player in the Premier League this season, with his 14 goals and five assists from 19 matches in the competition spearheading his side's climb to the summit.

He was left out of the squad as the Premier League leaders eased past Leicester City 3-0 on Saturday.

According to The Telegraph, a huge offer for Costa came in from China.

Asked if Costa would play again, Conte replied: "Why not?" I can tell you that, if there are problems with the players, then I am used to, in my career, solving them in the changing room, not outside, not in a press conference.

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The Times of London has also reported that Costa rejected the offer of a new contract at Chelsea before last week's bust-up with Conte.

Chelsea declined to comment on the story but Conte on Friday afternoon said he had some undisclosed doubts for the game against Leicester, mentioning no names or reasons for potential absences.

Costa was left out of Conte's squad against Leicester after a dispute with a fitness coach and amid reports that the Spain global has received a huge offer to play in the Chinese Super League. "And for this reason, these offers from China, I don't think are a threat for our league".

Premier League betting odds reacted strongly to the news, with the bookies immediately lengthening Conte's team's odds as the news broke.

Sources in Madrid and Manchester say Atletico are nearly resigned to losing Griezmann to United in the summer for an expected fee of around £100m, making a return bid for Costa inevitable.

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"I can't be concerned about this because today my players showed me a great performance and great spirit".

With Eden Hazard taking Costa's place up front rather than Michy Batshuayi, who was on the bench, the Blues were the better side throughout.

Conte, his staff and Costa's team-mates will return following two days off on Tuesday, but Chelsea insist the 28-year-old's solitary sessions are part of his recovery and nothing to do with the speculation over his future. "Diego is important for us but if he's not there for one game we know we can handle it".

"I'm very pleased for him to stay with us", Conte said.

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