Antonio Conte uncertain over Diego Costa's future as Chelsea close in on Romelu Lukaku
Following Chelsea’s 3-2 loss to Real Madrid on Saturday, Antonio Conte revealed that he was unsure if Diego Costa would be at the club this season. The Brazilian-born Spanish striker has missed two consecutive games in pre-season due to injury and his future at Stamford Bridge seems uncertain.
Costa has been linked to his former club Atletico Madrid with Diego Simeone keen on bringing back his star striker that helped the side win the 2013/14 La Liga title. The 27-year-old had scored 27 goals in the league as the Rojiblancos wrapped up the title on the final day of the season before he was sold to Chelsea for £32m that summer.
Although he helped Chelsea to the league title in 2014/15 with 20 league goals in his first season, injuries and fitness issues saw Costa score a paltry 12 league goals in the Blues’ disastrous title-defending season. He has been a target since April with Atletico president Enrique Cerezo even suggesting that Costa would be an option they would pursue.
Speaking to the press after Chelsea’s loss, Conte said: “I speak for today and today Costa is Chelsea’s player. Tomorrow if you ask me if Costa will remain with us, I don’t know.
“I can say that today Costa is a Chelsea player. He didn’t play in these games because of injury and if he solves the injury and I see in training he’s in good shape it can be possible to see him in the next game against AC Milan. But I can tell you only this.”
Reports claim that Costa had asked for a transfer back to Madrid but that the club had denied him the opportunity more than once. Now that Atletico have signed the highly-rated Kevin Gameiro from Sevilla, the English club is hopeful that they will not have to send Atletico any further warnings to lay off their striker.
Chelsea next play Milan on Wednesday at the US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis – their final International Champions Cup fixture before they return to England ahead of the new Premier League season.
Chelsea close to sealing £60m move for Lukaku
Two years after leaving Stamford Bridge, Everton striker Romelu Lukaku is targeting a return as the clubs negotiate a transfer fee. The Toffees had reportedly rejected a £57m bid for the Belgian they signed for a club record £28m fee back in 2014.
It is understood that Everton are holding out for £75m. But they are also resigned to losing Lukaku who wants a return to his former club and are looking to get a fair price and the 23-year-old could be sold for £60m.
The London club have already signed Michy Batshuayi from Marseille for £33m after getting rid of Radamel Falcao and Alexandre Pato – both of which were failed transfers last season.