Diego Costa is edging ever closer to a Chelsea exit.
Costa, 28, did not report back for preseason training on Monday as the reigning Premier League champions got back to work at Cobham.
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It is believed Antonio Conte has given Costa up to another week off as Chelsea and Atletico Madrid continue to discuss a move for the Spanish international who wants to move back to Atleti.
Conte told Costa, reportedly via text message, earlier this summer that he was no longer needed at Chelsea despite being the Blues’ top goalscorer last season with 22 goals and scoring 52 goals in 89 PL appearances since arriving from Atletico in the summer of 2014.
With that news leaking it is believed Atletico are, as expected, proving tough to negotiate with as they’re said to be offering less than half of the $75 million valuation Chelsea have for Costa. With Atleti also banned from registering players until January due to their current FIFA transfer ban, the situation has become even more complicated.
It is clear Costa wants to return to Atletico and they want him, and to get around that a possible loan deal to the Chinese Super League between now and January is a real option for Costa and Atleti.
After Chelsea lost out on signing Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United, many suggested Conte should patch up relations with Costa.
That doesn’t seem to be happening and the Blues are continually linked with a move for Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata and Torino’s Andrea Belotti.
Costa’s future at Chelsea appears all but over and the west London club will want this all wrapped up before they head away on their preseason tour of the Far East next Monday.
It’s safe to say it would be incredibly surprising if Costa was on that plane.
After losing out on Lukaku, Eden Hazard injured and set to miss the start of the season, plus plenty of other transfer deals yet to be completed, to say this offseason has so far been disappointing for Chelsea is a massive understatement.