London - Diego Costa's future at Premier League leaders Chelsea was plunged
into doubt on Friday after their leading scorer was reportedly dropped
for Saturday's away match with champions Leicester.
28-year-old Spanish international, who has scored 14 goals in 19 games
this season, is believed to have had a bust-up at the club over the
level of his fitness and has not trained all week.
news came after the Brazil-born, naturalised Spaniard was linked with a
lucrative salary offer from a Chinese club worth a mind-boggling
30million (€34m, $36.5m) a year.
Only last month Chelsea
manager Antonio Conte had been singing the player's praises saying he
was a reformed character from the one who had sulked his way through the
previous unhappy campaign.
Many fans blamed the temperamental striker for causing Jose Mourinho's sacking.
happy for him because he is showing great passion. In every game he is
showing great commitment and work rate to help the team," Conte said.
"It's fantastic and it's important to continue this way. Diego for sure is a great striker.
"He is enjoying playing his football. Now he is showing his passion in the right way."
signed a five-year deal on his arrival in July 2014 for 32million which
leaves two-and-a-half years to run on his contract and Chelsea owner
Roman Abramovich is believed to be unwilling to sell him.
goals have been instrumental in Chelsea going on a 13 match winning run
in the Premier League which was brought to an end by a 2-0 defeat at the
hands of fellow London side Tottenham Hotspur just over a week ago.
his absence on Saturday, Belgian star Eden Hazard could replace him up
front as he did against Bournemouth when the Spaniard was suspended.
regardless of Abramovich's determination not to offload him, one
English bookmaker cut the price of his leaving in the January transfer
window to 2/1.