Chelsea tell Diego Costa to come back and compete for first-team place
Chelsea have reportedly made the surprise demand to Diego Costa that he come back to training with the club in order to put himself in contention for a first-team place.
The Blues are concerned over the condition of the Spain international, who has been absent from the squad for some time amid a dispute over his future in this transfer window.
Antonio Conte told Costa via text earlier this summer that he was no longer in his first-team plans, with a move to Atletico Madrid or AC Milan looking likely for some time as Alvaro Morata moved to Stamford Bridge as a likely replacement.
However, a transfer has not yet materialised for Costa leading to reports last week that the club were concerned his lack of match fitness could hinder their chances of selling him.
While it seems likely that the Premier League champions merely want to get him back to his best to avoid a slump in his market value, it could also mean we haven’t seen the last of the 28-year-old in a Chelsea shirt just yet.
Conte’s side made a poor start to the season with a shock 3-2 home defeat to Burnley on Saturday, and haven’t made as many signings as they’d hoped to this summer.
Nemanja Matic, John Terry, Asmir Begovic, Nathan Ake and Nathaniel Chalobah have also all left, leaving Conte short of the depth he wants going into the new season.
This seems to have handed Costa a surprise lifeline at Stamford Bridge, even if a long-term resolution still reportedly looks unlikely.
The player’s relationship with the club and manager look to be at an all-time low after his explosive interview with the Daily Mail over the weekend, though this seems to have prompted some action from the Blues as they look to resolve a saga that has dragged on since the end of May.