While Chelsea boss Antonio Conte was hoping all his efforts during the January transfer window would be on finding a new defender, he is now just trying to keep together his Premier League-leading squad.
The Italian’s furious row with top scorer Diego Costa has the potential to derail the Blues’ season, with the Brazilian-born Spaniard having his head turned by the riches of the Chinese Super League.
The Daily Express report that Costa is set for clear-the-air talks with Conte this week as the club are desperate to not allow the situation to ruin the season and blow the Blues’ seven-point lead at the top.
The Daily Mail echo this and reveal that owner Roman Abramovich has ordered the two to make up and that he will not allow Costa to leave the club.
Costa has a contract at Stamford Bridge until 2020 and the Russian is expecting his striker to honour it.
However, while the 28-year-old is willing to call a truce for the remainder of the season, he is adamant he wants to leave in the summer, with the Times reporting that Costa rejected the offer of a two-year extension before the argument.
Away from the Costa grumblings, Chelsea are keeping a sharp eye out on the situation happening at West Ham between the club and Dimitri Payet.
It is a near-identical situation to the one Chelsea are experiencing with Costa and the Hammers are becoming increasingly open to selling their talisman in January, rather than wait until the summer, according to the Evening Standard.
The report that Payet’s willingness to fake an injury in order to force a move this month has led to the club deciding that if they don’t sell in January, the player’s value will drop to an all-time low.
Independent News Service
Paul Scholes has insisted that Diego Costa should be allowed to leave Chelsea and insisted he would never have gone out of his way to persuade a player to stay at Manchester United during his long spell at Old Trafford.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has insisted he is ‘not lying’ after claiming striker Diego Costa missed Saturday’s game at Leicester with a back injury, despite widespread reports of a huge bust-up between the Blues boss and his star striker.