Date published: Sunday 31st July 2016 2:12

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has admitted for the first time that he is not sure if unsettled striker Diego Costa will remain with the club this season.

The Spain international missed Saturday’s 3-2 International Champions Cup defeat to Real Madrid with a back injury amid widespread speculation in the media over a potential return to Atletico Madrid. Reports last month suggested Costa will do “whatever it takes” to force a move back to his former club this summer.

And speaking after the match in Michigan, Conte stated he did not know if the striker would still be at the club when the Premier League season starts next month.

“I can say that today Costa is a Chelsea player,” he said.

“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.”

The latest comments appear to be a complete reversal of what Conte said about the player’s future when questioned about it just two weeks ago.