Antonio Conte refuses to rule out Diego Costa Chelsea exit

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Diego Costa could make a £40 million return to Atletico Madrid, after Chelsea boss Antonio Conte admitted he is unsure whether the striker will remain with the club this summer.

The Blues lost 3-2 to Real Madrid in their International Champions Cup friendly on Saturday, with Costa absent through injury. However, while Conte was able to explain the Spain striker's absence, he was unable to answer questions about the player's future, as reported by Sky Sports.

Atletico Madrid have been heavily linked with a return for Costa, who left the Vicente Calderon for £32 million two seasons ago, but could be forced to pay £8 million more than they received from Chelsea, if he is to return to the Spanish capital.


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But Chelsea are understood to be unhappy with Atletico, after unwanted interest, and have threatened to complain to FIFA.

While Costa himself is not forcing through a move back to Atletico and is happy to stay at Stamford Bridge, it is understood he would be keen on a return to Spain, after enduring some tough spells during his time in the Premier League.

Speaking to the press after the match in Michigan on Saturday, Conte said: "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 that he is in good shape it can be possible to see him in the next game against Milan.

"But I can say only this. I speak only for today and today Costa is Chelsea's player. Tomorrow if you ask me if Costa will remain with us, I don't know."

Short of firepower

Luckily for the Italian boss, he recently acquired the £33 million signing of Belgium striker Michy Batshuayi, although, if Costa does return to Atletico Madrid, Conte will find himself short of real firepower.

Former Blues striker Romelu Lukaku is being linked with a big-money return to Stamford Bridge this summer, after excelling during his two seasons with Everton - however, reports have suggested that the Toffees want around £75 million for the 23-year-old.

Conte neither confirmed or denied an interest in Lukaku, as he quickly dismissed the question from the press.

"I do not want to speak about the players of other teams," said Conte.

Not respectful

"This is not respectful to the club or to their players. I prefer not to speak.

"The transfer market is not the most important thing. The important thing is to build a team - a team that plays in good and bad situations and concentrates and works together."

Costa was a stand out performer in his first season with the Blues, scoring 20 goals as Chelsea marched to the league title, while a poor campaign all round for the Stamford Bridge last season outfit saw the Brazil-born striker net just 12 goals in 28 appearances.

While Atletico are preparing to table their £40 million bid, Chelsea are hoping to fight off interest in Costa, and hope that the Rojiblancos turn their attentions to their other striker target, in Liverpool's Divock Origi.

Should Chelsea sell Diego Costa in order to fund the purchase of Romelu Lukaku? Have your say in the comment box below.

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Divock Origi
Premier League
Diego Costa
Romelu Lukaku

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