Chelsea striker Diego Costa claims Antonio Conte has told him he is not part of his plans at Chelsea.
The 26-year-old, who scored 26 goals in 46 games for the Premier League champions last season, says Conte sent him a text message informing him of his fate and Costa is now contemplating his future away from Stamford Bridge.
Speaking to reporters after Spain’s 2-2 draw with Colombia on Wednesday night, Costa said: “I’m a Chelsea player, but they do not want me there. Antonio Conte has told me by message I do not follow at Chelsea and that’s it. Conte said he did not count on me for next season.
“It’s a shame, I’ve already forwarded the message to Chelsea people to decide. But it is clear the coach does not count on me and does not want me there. You have to find a team.”
An exit from Chelsea has long been on the cards for Costa, who has been the reported subject of a money-spinning offer from a Chinese Super League club. The striker has his heart set on a return to Atletico Madrid, though that move would be delayed due to the Spanish club’s transfer embargo.
“It would be nice to return to Atletico, but it is difficult to be four-five months without playing,” Costa added in quotes reported by Marca. “Being five months without playing? I do not know, it’s complicated, but people know I love Atletico a lot and that I love living in Madrid.
“It would be nice to go back, but it’s difficult to be four-five months without playing. It’s a World Cup year and there’s a lot to think about. I need to play, that’s all. “
In other transfer news, Hector Bellerin yesterday posted a cryptic message on Twitter which suggests he is not about to quit Arsenal.
The 22-year-old has been linked with a move back to boyhood club Barcelona, while Manchester City have also reportedly shown an interest in the Spain full-back.
Bellerin, who penned a new deal at the Emirates Stadium last November, saw his relationship with Arsenal fans fluctuate last season.
He has always been highly-rated at Arsenal but he felt the wrath of a number of angry supporters during the 3-0 defeat to Crystal Palace in April.
Manager Arsene Wenger defended the player but Bellerin then had a spell on the sidelines before establishing himself in the new-look 3-4-3 formation which helped Arsenal finish the season strongly.
He started the 2-1 FA Cup final win over Chelsea before further speculation saw him once again touted as a target for Barcelona. But, after several newspapers reported a potential return to Catalonia may be on the cards, he wrote on Twitter: “Don’t believe everything you read...”
Meanwhile, Arsenal’s top goalscorer from last season Alexis Sanchez has said he will leave it to his agent to thrash out a potential new contract with the club.
Sanchez, who hit 30 goals last season, is out of contract in a little over 12 months and, like Bellerin, has been linked with a number of other clubs.
City, Bayern Munich and Chelsea are reported suitors while some reports claim Sanchez has already been offered a record deal to remain at Arsenal.
Either way the forward, currently on international duty with Chile at the Confederations Cup, is happy to leave agent Fernando Felicevich in charge of negotiations.
Asked about his future by reporters in Russia, he said: “That is what my representative is looking at.”
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