Friday 23 March 2018

Diego Costa: Conte has told me he does not want me at Chelsea

Diego Costa says he has been told his Chelsea career is over
Diego Costa says he has been told his Chelsea career is over
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Diego Costa has been told by Chelsea manager Antonio Conte that he has no place in the club’s future plans, as he prepares to make his exit from the Stamford Bridge club this summer.

The 26-year-old, who scored 26 goals in 46 games for the Premier League champions last season, says Conte sent him a text message informing him of his fate and Costa is now contemplating his future away from Stamford Bridge.

Costa’s angry revelations appear to represent the final chapter in his stormy three-year spell at Chelsea, as he made his position public following Spain’s 2-2 draw with Colombia on Wednesday night.

“My relationship with the coach has been bad this season. I suppose I’ve had a bad season so I can’t go on,” said the striker who scored 20 goals in Chelsea's title winning campaign.

“I’m going to be honest, the other day, Conte sent me a message saying he does not count on me for next season, so I’ll have to find a way out.

“It was just a simple message after all I’ve done for the club but if he doesn’t want me there then I will have to look for a [new] team.

“If the manager gets in contact with you to tell you that you are not wanted then you have to leave.”

Chelsea are widely expected to complete the signing of Everton striker Romelu Lukaku in in the coming weeks, with the promise that the Belgian striker will be given the chance to establish himself as the club’s first choice striker.

That signing as never likely to be welcomed by Costa, who had hinted that he would consider his future at Chelsea if a big-name striker arrived this summer.

Yet Costa’s claims that he is the victim in this story are a little hard to empathise with after the striker made an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to leave Chelsea in January after he received a lucrative move from a Chinese Super League side.

Even though his exit would have potentially derailed Chelsea’s push for the Premier League title, Costa selfishly pursued his efforts to leave Stamford Bridge, much to the annoyance of Conte and the club’s hierarchy.

While a deal was thrashed out that ensured he remained at Chelsea until the end of the season, there was always an understanding that he may move on this summer and that has now been confirmed by Conte’s seemingly blunt message to his leading scorer from last season.

While Costa has regularly expressed his desire to rejoin Atletico Madrid, their transfer embargo would mean he is unable to play for the Spanish side until January and he admits that would be a factor in a potential move back to the club.

“To go to Atleti would be nice but I have to think about it,” he added. “This is a World Cup year and I cannot be not playing for three or four months.

“I love living in Madrid, but I have to think about my future. It’s complicated because I cannot go four or five months without playing. I have no preference for a league, I just want to play.”

Chelsea may now be willing to accept a reduced fee for Costa after this very public declaration that he is no longer wanted, with Atletico clear front-runners to sign a striker who has insisted they are the only club he wants to sign for.

Even though Costa would not be able to play for Atletico until January due to their transfer embargo, his move back to Spain may spark a fresh round of speculation suggesting Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann may yet join Manchester United this summer.

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