Diego Costa dropped after dispute over fitness with coach

Striker Diego Costa has been left out of the Chelsea squad to face Leicester on Saturday after a dispute with a coach over his fitness.

The Spain international has not trained for three days and has not travelled for the Premier League leaders’ match with the champions (17:30 GMT).

The news comes amid reports he is the subject of an offer to move to China that would be worth £30m a year.

Costa, 28, has scored 14 goals and provided five assists this season.

Costa joined the Blues for £32m in 2014, and was understood to be close to a return to former club Atletico Madrid after a difficult 2015-16 campaign.

“Did I want to go? Yes, yes, I was about to leave,” he said earlier this month. “But not because of Chelsea.

“There was one thing I wanted to change for family reasons but it wasn’t to be, and I continue to be happy here.”

Shortly afterwards, manager Antonio Conte said he believed the striker was now “completely focused” on “fighting for this club and for his shirt”.

He added: “When Diego decided to stay, I wasn’t concerned. He is showing great patience in the right way, in every moment of the game.”

Midfielders Jon Mikel Obi and Oscar recently left Chelsea for Chinese clubs – Tianjin TEDA and Shanghai SIPG respectively – while ex-Manchester City and United striker Carlos Tevez joined Shanghai Shenhua from Boca Juniors in a deal reportedly worth £310,000 a week.

 

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