Diego Costa and Chelsea: All the potential fall-out

Daniel Storey

We could have written an entire gossip column just on Diego Costa’s future, so instead here’s a breakdown of what everyone is saying bout the Chelsea striker. There are plenty of conflicting reports:


– Chelsea players have told him to apologise
That’s an exclusive in the Daily Telegraph, from Matt Law and Sam Wallace. They confirm that Costa was dropped after an argument with Chelsea’s manager and fitness coach, and was told to train away from the rest of the squad.

The exclusive element is that Costa’s Chelsea teammates are acting as peacemakers by urging Costa to say sorry, forget China and concentrate on winning Chelsea the title.


– Costa was injured, not dropped
That’s according to Antonio Conte himself. You might think ‘Well, he would say that’, but don’t shoot the messenger:

“If you want to know the truth. I am ready to tell the truth. On Tuesday, during the training session, Diego stopped because he felt a pain in his back, and from that moment he didn’t train during the week.

“And for this reason today he wasn’t available for the starting eleven, or for the bench, or to come with the squad. This is the reason. This is the truth about Diego.

“I read a lot of speculation about this topic. I can tell you that, if there are problems with the players, then I am used to, in my career, solving them in the changing room, not outside, not in a press conference.

“I don’t know anything about this (interest from China). The club did not tell me about this. For this reason, it can be only speculation.

“We start our training session on Tuesday and next week we will see. It’s important to understand his physical condition and then we will see if he trains with us. I don’t know (how long he will be out) because I don’t have his pain.”


– Costa has no interest in moving to China
This one is according to ESPN Brazil. They say that Costa was indeed dropped by Chelsea for the game against Leicester after an argument, and that the clash occurred because of the offer from China.

However, sources close to the player say that Costa is not interested in a move to China at this stage in his career.


– Costa hates English football and wants to leave
A bold claim by Neil Ashton and Justin Allen in The Sun, this. They report that Costa is ‘hell-bent on quitting Chelsea’, which is slightly different to ESPN Brazil’s claim.

‘SunSport understands Costa — who had a training-ground bust-up with a fitness coach this week — and his representatives have been looking into the possibility of a move to China since the end of November,’ the piece claims. ‘And he told pals he will do anything to force a move during the transfer window — claiming that he “hates English football and hates the FA”.’

It should also be pointed out that Ashton was asked exactly what Costa hates about English football on Sky Sports’ Sunday Supplement, and came up with the square root of f**k all.


– Costa has agreed terms with Chinese club
That detail is in that same Ashton and Allen story:

‘A Chinese source said: “Costa is the No 1 target and we know that he wants to come here. The personal terms have been agreed in principle. But Chelsea are adamant they do not want to sell at least until the end of their season.”’

We’re sorry that ‘Chinese source’ made us laugh.


– Roman Abramovich will let Costa rot in the reserves
Another exclusive, and this time from Steve Stammers in the Mirror. Stammers writes that Abramovich will not countenance the sale of Costa to China because it would make all other Premier League clubs vulnerable to offers. Quite why the hell Roman would be bothered about other clubs is unclear.

‘“He is adamant about it. The owner is going to play hard-ball,” said a source at Stamford Bridge,’ Stammers writes. Having got that source, it might have been better to get more than 12 words out of them.

Stammers also clears up the issue of Costa being banned from training, with information on the back injury:

‘Monday was a free day, and when he reported back on Tuesday he was 15 minutes late for a session that started at 10.30am. He complained of a back injury and was treated that day and on the Wednesday. Costa was then given an ­appointment with a physio­therapist at 5pm on Thursday – for which he was late.’


– Chelsea will replace Costa with Alvaro Morata
You guessed it, another exclusive. It’s also another exclusive in The Sun, with Alvise Cagnazzo writing this one.

‘While Conte is happy with the 28-year-old and is getting the best out him, he doesn’t see him as a long-term option due to his age and temperament. His ultimate desire is the man he convinced the Juventus hierarchy to sign on his departure back in 2014 despite much scepticism. And Conte believes he can transform Morata into a 20-goal-a-season striker at Stamford Bridge.’

Forgive us for our cynicism, but this story sounds a lot like ‘Conte quite likes Morata’ re-nosed to link in with the Costa stuff. Conte liking Morata really isn’t news; he bought him before.


– Chelsea will replace Costa with Thomas Muller
You’ll need to sit down for this news: We have another exclusive. This one comes from Neil Fissler in the Daily Express. Fissler claims that Costa’s potential move has caused ‘frantic moves’ behind the scenes at Chelsea.

Those frantic moves include preparing a £75m offer for Thomas Muller apparently. This definitely isn’t someone putting two and two together and making 427.


So, Costa was dropped or was injured. He is ‘hell-bent’ on leaving or doesn’t want to leave. Chelsea want to keep him or he isn’t Conte’s favoured option. And Chelsea will replace him with Alvaro Morata or Thomas Muller. For £75m. Glad that’s clear.