Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has spoken out on Diego Costa’s future, insisting that the striker is not for sale.
Costa, 27, joined the Blues from Atletico Madrid two seasons ago, but has been continuously linked with a return to the Vicente Calderon. Reports have, until recently, been rife that the Spanish international has requested a move this summer.
Atletico president Enrique Cerezo recently claimed that Costa was ‘close’ to rejoining the Champions League finalists, but Conte has stepped in to clear the air.
Speaking in a press conference ahead of Chelsea’s Wednesday-night friendly against RZ Pellets, the Italian told reporters that Costa is happy at the club, and will score lots of goals next season.
“Diego is our player. He is a fantastic player, a player with a fundamental importance and there is no problem,” said Conte.
“He stays with us, he is working very hard, he is very happy to work with his teammates and with me in the new idea of football. He is a Chelsea player.
“He is an important player, a very strong player, one of the best in the world, and I am sure when he goes into our ideas he will score a lot of goals for us.”
The manager also shed some light on his team’s preparations for the upcoming campaign.
“It’s also important to have a bit of time for me to know the players and for the players to know me. In the Euros I had a finished team. Now we are building. In this moment it’s normal I have a bit of difficulty with this change because with Chelsea we are beginning our season.
“I am getting to know a lot of new players and I’m bringing them a new idea of football. We need a bit of time but I saw a lot of positive things this week.”