The Chelsea manager Antonio Conte claimed that he is unaware of any transfer offer from China for Diego Costa and insisted that it was a back injury that prevented top scorer of Chelsea from taking part in his team’s victory at Leicester City. The Chelsea manager also refused to confirm or deny reports that he and some of his backroom staff were involved in a minor dispute with Diego Costa.
“I have read a lot of speculation about this topic and I can tell you if there are problems, and I repeat ‘if,’ with players, I am used to solving them in the changing room, not outside, not in press conferences,” Conte said.
According to Sky Sports reports, Conte said: “Before the game I told the truth, I don’t lie.” Asked again later why Costa did not travel to the King Power Stadium with his Chelsea team-mates, Conte replied: “If you want to know the truth, I’m ready to tell the truth. On Tuesday during the training session Diego stopped because he felt a pain in his back. From that moment he didn’t train during the week. For this reason today he wasn’t available. This is the reason, the truth.”
Rumour has it that Diego Costa is a subject of a lucrative offer from an anonymous Chinese club that would earn the striker around £30m per year, but Conte claimed ignorance. “I don’t know anything about this,” he said. “The club did not inform me about this. That can be only speculation.” he replied.
The Italian Blues Boss said he did not know how long it might take Diego Costa to recover from his back injury, and when asked whether he expected the striker to play for Chelsea again he answered, “Why not?”.
He dogded further inquiries by suggesting it was disrespectful to discuss Diego Costa when Chelsea’s other players had extended their lead at the top of the table by winning away to the champions. “I think that talking about this topic for the past five minutes is a bit of lack of respect for the other players and our performance,” he said. “Trust me, what I told you is the truth. If we start to think: ‘If an offer arrives, if, if, if…’ I don’t like to answer these types of questions. We must enjoy this victory. It wasn’t easy to win against Leicester. It’s important to respect our victory and our players after a good performance.
“We started this game with great pressure after Tottenham and Arsenal’s victories and we had to show good experience to manage this situation.”