Striker Diego Costa wants to stay at Chelsea FC and will be available for Sunday’s Premier League game against Hull City, club manager Antonio Conte said on Friday.
Conte / Costa
The 28-year-old Costa was left out of last week’s win at Leicester after a disagreement with a fitness coach, amid widespread reports of interest from Chinese clubs.
Chelsea said his omission was due to a back injury, and that training alone for two days was part of his recovery.
“He is very happy to play with us. I don’t see any problem,” said Conte.
“I heard a lot of speculation about Diego, but now the most important thing is he trained with us this week, he does not have any pain in his back and can play.
“He is an important player for us and we all know this. When he stays in good form he has always played with me.”
In the days leading up to Chelsea’s 3-0 win at Leicester, Costa was linked with a move to China worth a reported £30 million (about N15 billion) a year.
The owner of Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian said he would like to sign Costa, but new rules limiting the use of foreign players had forced a rethink.
But it is clear that Chelsea do not wish to sell Costa and the Blues’ top scorer this season is under contract until June 2019.
Conte did not confirm if Costa who has played 99 times for the club would start against Hull.
But he said the Spain international reaching 100 appearances would be a “fantastic’’ achievement.
Asked if he would like Costa to sign a new contract, Conte added: “Now is better to be focused on the present, not the future.’’
NAN reports that Chelsea are seven points clear at the top of the Premier League before Sunday’s visit of 18th-placed Hull.
Meanwhile, Conte said the club are “evaluating’’ an offer for goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.
He added that the 29-year-old Bosnia international, who has been linked with a move to Bournemouth, is a “very important member of the squad’’.