Antonio Conte: Chelsea told Diego Costa he would be sold in January

 
Joe Hall
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Antonio Conte Diego Costa Chelsea
Source: Getty

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte first told striker Diego Costa he could leave Stamford Bridge in January, the Italian has revealed.

Costa, Chelsea's top scorer in a title-winning campaign, was dropped by Conte mid-season as reports linked Chinese club Tianjin Quanjian with a mega-money move for the Spaniard.

He soon returned to the side and helped fire Chelsea to the title, but was reportedly informed by Conte via text message that he would not be included in the squad for the following season.

Read more: Chelsea keep lightest schedule in pre-season

"I don't like to talk about players who are not here but the only thing I can tell you is that in January, the Costa situation was very clear for the club, for him and his agent," said Conte.

"For me the situation is closed."

Costa has not travelled with the Blues to Beijing for their pre-season fixture against Arsenal tomorrow afternoon.

Yet new signing Alvaro Morata, purchased for a record fee from Real Madrid as a replacement for Costa, will join up with his new teammates ahead of their meeting with Bayern Munich in Singapore next Tuesday.

"We have added a fantastic striker, even at a young age he has won a lot already and we are looking forward to welcoming him into the squad," said the Italian of 24-year-old Morata.

"I think for sure this is a good signing for us. He is a young player, but he has a lot of experience, he went to Juventus and Real Madrid. He has a lot of experience and this is good for us."

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