It does not appear as if Diego Costa will complete a late loan move to Turkey after all, with Fenerbahce manager Aykut Kocaman conceding that his club now appear “far away” from an agreement after initially coming close to signing the AWOL Chelsea hitman.
Due to financial reasons, Costa was unable to complete his favoured return to former employers Atletico Madrid before last week’s Spanish transfer deadline and, despite earlier reports to the contrary, remains on a self-imposed exile in his Brazilian hometown of Lagarto having defied repeated requests from Chelsea to report back to Cobham for first-team training.
The Spain international was included in Antonio Conte’s 25-man Premier League squad, although found himself omitted from his group for the Champions League. It remains extremely unlikely that he will play for Chelsea again following a truly ugly summer saga in which both sides spoke of potential legal action.
Atletico look set to return for Costa when their ban on registering new players expires in January, yet it remains to be seen what sort of condition he will be in if he fails to bury the hatchet with Conte and does not play any competitive football for four months.
Such a lengthy period of inactivity would also surely harm his chances of being selected by Julen Lopetegui for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
A temporary switch to the Super Lig remains a viable option given that the window in Turkey remains open until Friday (8 September). However, it seems that Fenerbahce are rapidly losing hope of getting a loan deal sorted before the deadline, despite reports suggesting that they are willing to cover a substantial amount of his £150,000-a-week wages.
“We were really close to sign[ing] Diego Costa but now we seem far away,” Kocaman was quoted as saying by Goal.com. “The talks between the two clubs were going really well. But here we are.”
Two other Chelsea players had also been linked with potential moves to Istanbul earlier this week, with Igor Tudor’s Galatasaray reportedly eager to reinforce their left-hand flank with a move for either Abdul “Baba” Rahman or controversial Brazilian Kenedy. However, that trail appears to have gone rather cold with so little time left to manoeuvre.
Former Schalke loanee Rahman is ineligible to feature in the Premier League until the New Year despite recovering from a long-term knee injury. Kenedy has been an unused substitute for all three of Chelsea’s 2017-18 top-flight matches to date, although his future was thrown into serious doubt during the summer when he was fined and sent home from a pre-season tour of the Far East for social media posts that caused great offence in China.
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Conte set to make surprise selection call for Chelsea versus Leicester
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte will likely opt to start Eden Hazard on the bench against Leicester City on Saturday, according to the Evening Standard.
The 26 year old played in both of Belgium’s World Cup qualifiers against Gibraltar and Greece during the international break, and looks ready to make his return to action for the Blues after missing the start of the season with an ankle injury.
However, Conte is believed to want to keep the forward fresh for the club’s first Champions League group stage match against Qarabag on Tuesday, although he will be given some game time as a substitute against the Foxes.
Hazard will likely return to the starting line up as soon as he is ready, but Conte will have a tough decision to make on who to drop when the Belgian is fully fit. Both Willian and Pedro have been impressive playing either side of Alvaro Morata, and it will be interesting to see who Conte decides to leave out.