Reports emerged last night suggesting that Chelsea’s talisman Diego Costa may be on the move to join the Chinese Super League.
This comes after news surfaced suggesting that Costa was involved in a training ground bust-up with members of Chelsea’s coaching staff as well as their manager Antonio Conte. The reason for this bust-up has been said to be originally centred on the forward’s fitness problems.
Since this incident on Tuesday, he has not returned to training and he is set to be left out of Chelsea’s squad for this weekend’s fixture against Leicester City.
Reports have since emerged stating that there has been an offer for Costa from a club from the Chinese Super League. This offer has been said to include a £576,000 per week deal, which equates to £30 million per year.
Chelsea's Diego Costa reportedly unsettled at club following £30million per yr offer from China.
— Jim White (@JimWhite) January 13, 2017
This astronomical offer is said to have unsettled the Spaniard, who is said to be interested in the proposition, as his agent – Jorge Mendes – has been in China this week to discuss the possible move.
The row, according to Sky Sport’s Kaveh Solhekol, ended in Antonio Conte shouting at the forward with him saying: “Go to China!”
Despite this though, Chelsea’s multi-billionaire owner, Roman Abramovich, has acted fast in an attempt to crush the rumours by going on record to state that Diego Costa is not for sale.
Diego Costa has had a roller coaster spell at Chelsea. He has regularly shown his world-class ability over his two and a half year spell at the club but previously he had let himself down by his antics on the field, provoking criticism from many in the game as well as from opposition fans.
This season has been a different story though. The introduction of Antonio Conte as manager has had a great impact on his performances as he is now solely concentrating on his game instead of other factors on the pitch.
This shift in attitude has seen him and his club reap the benefits this campaign with the forward being one of their key performers, scoring 14 Premier League goals. Costa’s form and a change in formation has helped them to a remarkable upturn in form, which has seen them gain a foothold in the title race as they currently sit five points clear of their nearest rivals.
Antonio Conte is not the type of manager who would let this type of incident slide. But going from Roman Abramovich’s stance, it appears as if Costa is set to stay at the club until the end of the season at the very least.
Conte is renowned for his man-management skills and he needs to show this with how he handles Diego Costa to try to integrate him back into the fold. However good a player Costa is, the team should still come first and be of utmost importance, so if Conte feels as if Costa should be left out of the team for the time being for the betterment of the team, that is what should happen.
This is somewhat of a crossroads in Chelsea’s title bid. Costa is one of the most important players that the Blues have at the moment and without his presence on the field, their team is obviously weakened. This is a huge test for Conte because after a tough start initially, he has led his side to a record-equalling 14 game unbeaten run to top the table, but this signals another speed bump in their title bid.
How he handles this situation will be a big test of his abilities and if him and his players can move on from this and kick on again in the race for the title, it will be hard to look past them to lift the title come May.