Thursday 27 July 2017

Conte stands firm on call to offload Costa

Chelsea remain in negotiations with Atletico over Costa, but the clubs are some distance apart in their valuations. Photo credit: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
Chelsea remain in negotiations with Atletico over Costa, but the clubs are some distance apart in their valuations. Photo credit: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.

Matt Law

Diego Costa's Chelsea career is effectively over after Antonio Conte made it clear there will be no about turn on the striker's future as the Stamford Bridge club attempt to replace him with Alvaro Morata.

Chelsea are also hoping to push through the signing of Tiemoue Bakayoko, despite it emerging that the midfielder's £35m (40m) move from Monaco has been held up by a knee injury which he had surgery on at the end of last season.

Conte told Costa not to return for the start of pre-season training yesterday and does not plan to take him on a pre-season tour of China and Singapore next week, even if his expected return to Atletico Madrid has not been completed.

The Italian told Costa he was not part of his plans by text message at the end of last season and he is standing by his decision despite Chelsea losing out on Romelu Lukaku - Conte's main target - to Manchester United.

Chelsea remain in negotiations with Atletico over Costa, but the clubs are some distance apart in their valuations, with Chelsea demanding nearly double the Spanish club's first £26m (€29m)bid.

Atletico cannot register players until January because of their transfer embargo, so Costa would have to train at the La Liga club without playing in official games until then.

Meanwhile, Marko Arnautovic has submitted a transfer request after Stoke City rejected a £15m (€17m) bid for him from West Ham United.

Stoke do not want to sell the 28-year-old Austrian, who is contracted until 2020, but they are braced for an improved offer of £20m (€23m) from West Ham and may have to let him go. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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