Tuesday 22 August 2017

Everton demand £100m for Lukaku

 

Everton's Romelu Lukaku
Everton's Romelu Lukaku

Matt Law

Antonio Conte's decision to dump Diego Costa by text threatens to cost Chelsea millions, despite a warning from the club's board that he will not be allowed to negotiate his own exit.

Costa revealed late on Wednesday night that he had received a message from head coach Conte informing him that he was not part of the Italian's plans for next season, with Chelsea set to replace him with Romelu Lukaku.

It is understood the exchange between the pair took place at the start of the week and it was Costa's reply to advice over what he should be doing during the summer that provoked Conte.

Costa responded to Conte's message that he is not wanted by contacting board members to tell them that Chelsea will now have to sell him on his terms.

But director Marina Granovskaia, who is the closest ally of owner Roman Abramovich, informed Costa in no uncertain terms that it was Chelsea and not him who would negotiate his exit.

Chelsea's position does not alter the fact that Conte's message being made public weakens their position over negotiating a fee and opens up the potential for the striker to claim a loyalty payment when he goes.

It could also impact on Granovskaia's attempts to convince Everton to lower their £100m valuation of Lukaku, with the Goodison Park club aware of Chelsea's need to replace Costa.

Atletico Madrid remain keen to re-sign Costa, despite their transfer ban that runs until January, while AC Milan have made an inquiry about taking the 28-year-old.

Other than revealing that Conte no longer wanted him, Costa confirmed that his relationship with the manager had been "bad".

Revealing Conte's message, Costa said: "I'm a Chelsea player, but they do not want me there. 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.

"My relationship with the coach has been bad this season. It's a shame. I've already forwarded the message to Chelsea people to decide. You have to find a team." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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