Costa heading for Chelsea exit door after rejecting new contract offer

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Diego Costa has rejected a new deal with Chelsea and is set to leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season, according to reports.

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The Brazilian-born Spain international missed the Blues’ 3-0 win away at Leicester City over the weekend following a row with manager Antonio Conte, and now looks certain to call time on his topsy-turvy time in west London during the close season.

It is understood that the disagreement centred on concerns from the Italian’s fitness staff over the forward’s weight, with some media outlets suggesting that his potential interest in a move to China was also raised during the heated exchange. Costa was promptly dropped for the trip to face the Premier League champions, but his absence had little-to-no impact on Conte’s men, as a double from Marcos Alonso and a late goal from Pedro sealed a comfortable win.

The Daily Express claims that tensions have been running high between Costa and Conte since news broke of interest from Chinese Super League teams. They add that the ex-Atletico Madrid striker has been unsettled by the promise of lucrative salary packages in the Far East and, perhaps as a direct result of the row, will now refuse any deal proposed to him by Stamford Bridge officials.

Diego Costa

With just two years left to run on his current contract, the likelihood is that the 28-year-old will now depart for pastures new upon completion of the Premier League campaign.

As it stands, Chelsea are seven points clear of nearest challengers Tottenham in the title race. As he has been a significant factor in their success up to now with 14 goals in 19 games, the Blues will hope that the ongoing saga  involving Costa does not disrupt their chances of reclaiming the Premier League trophy from last season’s surprise winners, Leicester.

In the short-term, this undoubtedly means that he will remain in the starting lineup until a replacement can be found over the summer.

Any potential departure for the controversial attacker could open a door for Michy Batshauyi, who has yet to impress since his summer move from Marseille.

A big-money move for former striker Romelu Lukaku has also been mooted after a failed bid to lure the Belgian back in August.

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