English Premiership

Costa returns but Conte identifies replacement

2017-01-18 09:23
Diego Costa (Getty Images)

London - Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is believed to already have a summer replacement lined up to replace striker Diego Costa after the conclusion of the current campaign.

Conte is eyeing a move for Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata who he worked with at Juventus while the 24-year-old was on loan from Los Blacos after having a heated argument with Costa over his fitness.

Costa is also believed to be on track to make a sensational comeback against Hull City on Sunday after holding “amicable” talks with the club, according to Sky Sports. 

The two parties held an hour-long talk at Chelsea’s Cobham training base on Tuesday before Costa trained with the first team. 

This comes as a sign of progress after Costa was seen training alone for the past two days while the rest of his team-mates were given time off following the Blues’ 3-0 win over reigning Premier League champions Leicester City on Saturday. 

Costa was not part of the Chelsea squad that travelled to the King Power stadium for the game, and a back injury was the reason given for his absence. 

But, it is understood that Costa was involved in a heated dispute with manager Antonio Conte shortly after receiving a £30m-a-year offer from Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian.

With the Chinese Football Association having introduced new restrictions on foreign players on Monday, Tianjin owner Shu Yuhui admitted that a deal is highly unlikely to be made. 

When contacted by Sky Sports, Chelsea refused to comment whether Costa was in talks with the Chinese outfit.

Costa was seen training with the rest of the Chelsea first-team and was even seen hugging the fitness coach who he is rumoured to have also had a disagreement with.

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