Diego Costa has revealed he is not part of Antonio Conte’s plans at Chelsea, meaning a summer transfer from the club looks inevitable.
Since his arrival in London in 2014 the Spain international has been a key player for the Blues, scoring 58 goals in 119 appearances and helping them win two Premier League titles and a League Cup. The often controversial striker was keen on leaving the club for a lucrative move to China during the January window, after a reported clash with Conte on the training ground.
And although the two repaired their relationship to focus on retaining the title they lost to Leicester City 12 months previous, it’s perhaps fair to say the 28-year-old struggled to regain his best form. And it has now emerged that he has likely kicked his last ball for the Stamford Bridge club, after he revealed Conte has told him via text messages that he will not figure in his plans next season.
“I’m a Chelsea player, but they do not want me there,” said Costa. “Antonio Conte has told me by message that I do not follow at Chelsea and that’s it. Conte said he did not count on me for next season. It’s a shame, I’ve already forwarded the message to Chelsea people to decide. But it is clear that the coach does not count on me and does not want me there.
“It was just a message, after everything I did there. That’s up to him – now I have to look for a team and play. The truth is I have to look for a team straight away and I’ll have to see where I’ll be playing next season. When a coach picks his players, but you’re not included, then what can you do? You have to leave. I need to think about my future. I need to play – that’s it!”
A return to former club Atletico Madrid has been mooted in recent weeks, but the Spanish side have failed to overturn a transfer ban meaning they are unable to sign anyone this summer. According to Sky Sports, Italian giants Milan have already been in touch with Costa’s agent to establish what sort of fee Chelsea might want, whilst a move to China could yet be resurrected.
As for the Blues, it now looks even more of a likely bet that Romelu Lukaku will be leading the line next season. The former Stamford Bridge youngster has established himself as one of the most prolific goalscorers in the Premier League and Everton are thought to be resigned to losing the Belgian international, although they will only sell for a fee in the region of £80million.