Antonio Conte breaks silence on Diego Costa - 'In January the situation at Chelsea was very clear'
Antonio Conte has finally broken his silence on Diego Costa and revealed he decided to offload the striker in January.
Costa is heading for the exit after a turbulent 12 months under the Chelsea manager, with Atletico Madrid ready to bring the Spain international back to his former club this summer.
Yet Conte has insisted he opted to cut his losses on the troublesome forward in the New Year, after running out of patience as Costa pushed for a move to the lucrative Chinese Super League with Tianjin Quanjian.
Chelsea persuaded Costa to stay for the remainder of the season but a parting of the ways is now inevitable, with their relationship now beyond repair.
Costa has been left off Chelsea’s pre-season tour of the Far East and Conte has all but confirmed his exit, ending any lingering hopes supporters may have had of a reprieve.
“I don’t like to talk about players who are not here but the only thing I can tell you [is that] in January, the Costa situation was very clear, for the club for him and his agent. For me the situation is closed.”
Costa gave another clear hint over his future plans earlier this week when he posted a video on holiday in Brazil wearing an Atleti jersey.
As previously reported by Telegraph Sport, the forward has already said his goodbyes to the Chelsea squad. However, his next move will be complicated by Atletico’s transfer ban, which prevents them from signing players until January.
Conte has moved to replace Costa by completing the £58 million capture of Alvaro Morata. The former Real Madrid forward will touch down in Singapore early next week and is expected to play in the International Champions Cup game against Bayern Munich on Tuesday.