Conte ignoring persistent Costa links to China

3 February 2017 15:14

Antonio Conte has played down reports Diego Costa has agreed a close-season switch to China.

Costa sat out last month’s 3-0 victory at Leicester City following a reported disagreement over a back injury, with talk of a move to the Chinese Super League’s Tianjin Quanjian gathering momentum.

The issue appeared to have been resolved when Costa made a goalscoring return to the first-team fold and Conte declared the Spain international happy at Stamford Bridge.

However, reports on Friday claimed Costa had agreed a £30million-a-year deal to leave Chelsea for China at the end of the season.

Commenting on the persistent links, Conte said: “I don’t know, but every week I hear a lot of news and a lot of speculation about Diego.

“I think now the most important thing is to be focused on this championship and we are in a good position.

“Diego is an important player for us and he is happy. This is the most important thing. The summer is a long way away.”

Chelsea were linked with moves for Celtic pair Moussa Dembele and Craig Gordon towards the back end of the January transfer window and Conte revealed how close each move came to being a reality.

“For Dembele, I never talked with my club about this player,” he insisted. 

“For Gordon, we tried because we wanted to help Asmir Begovic satisfy his request to go and play every game – I always told him if we were able to find a right solution he could leave.

“We tried, but when the club told us it was not possible, we finished.”

Begovic had been linked with a move to Bournemouth but that transfer never materialised after Conte failed to secure a replacement.

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