The astonishing comment Conte reportedly made to Costa during Chelsea training ground bust-up
By Harry Sykes
Antonio Conte astonishing told Diego Costa to “go to China” during a Chelsea training ground row over his fitness, according to a report.
Sky Sports claim on their website that the controversial striker has been axed from the Chelsea squad for their Premier League clash against Leicester on Saturday evening.
It is said that Costa has has not trained with the first-team since Tuesday after he was the subject of a remarkable £30million-per-year offer from a club in the super-rich Chinese Super League.
Sky report that the Spain striker has become unsettled by the approach from China, which would make him one of the highest paid footballers in the world, and he became embroiled in an argument with two fitness coaches at Chelsea’s Cobham training headquarters.
According to information from Sky Italy, as quoted by Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solkehol on a live broadcast on Friday night, first-team manager Conte stepped in and ended the argument by yelling, “go to China” at Costa.
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Even allowing for the fact it was likely a heat-of-the-moment comment by Conte, it was a remarkable one given the circumstances of the huge offer Costa has on the table.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has made it clear that he has no intention of allowing Costa to leave Stamford Bridge despite the potential of a second massive transfer fee from China following the £60million received when Oscar moved to the country earlier this window.
The extraordinary bust-up has cast a shadow over Chelsea’s preparations for their clash at the King Power Stadium on Saturday, which kicks off at 5.30pm.
The west London club are looking to get their title bid back on track after losing last their last league match 2-0 against Tottenham at White Hart Lane.
Costa has been arguably the outstanding player in the Premier League this season, with his 14 goals and five assists from 19 matches in the competition spearheading his side’s climb to the summit.
They are five points ahead of second-placed Liverpool ahead of this weekend’ fixtures.
In other Chelsea transfer news, Conte is on the verge of agreeing a sensational swap deal.