Antonio Conte has fuelled further speculation that Diego Costa could leave Chelsea just days after the Spanish striker hinted at a possible move to Atletico Madrid.
After Saturday’s FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal at Wembley, a game in which Costa scored, the forward claimed there was only one team he wished to leave Chelsea for.
Costa is refusing to allow himself to be a transfer pawn and shot down the prospect of moving to China, instead hoping to be reunited with Diego Simeone at Atletico.
And manager Conte refused to give any assurances regarding the likelihood of Costa remaining at Stamford Bridge when asked about the Spaniard’s future.
‘Now, it’s important for me to take two or three days to rest and then to speak about the future, for my players, for all,’ he told reporters.
‘I repeat I need two or three days rest and then speak about the future of the club.’
In refusing to answer the question, Conte has added weight to the speculation that Costa could be offloaded in order to make way for Romelu Lukaku to return to Chelsea in a £70 million deal.
Costa only has two years left on his current contract and is not expected to sign an extension, which could force Chelsea to give in to his wishes of joining Atletico.
The Liga club tried to re-sign him last summer, though the move was blocked, and still see Costa as their No.1 target should Antoine Griezmann move to Manchester United.
Costa scored 20 goals and provided a further seven assists in the Premier League last season as Chelsea romped to the title, contributing to more goals than any of his Blues team-mates.