By MJ Majuru
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte says Diego Costa was told in January he was not part of their plans for the future.
Costa was dropped after a dispute with a fitness coach, amid rumours of a move to China, although Conte said he was “very happy to play” when recalled.
In June, Costa said Conte sent him a text telling him he would not be part of the squad for next season.
“In January, the Costa situation was very clear for the club, for him and his agent,” said Conte.
Speaking in Beijing on Friday, the manager added: “I don’t to like to talk about players that don’t stay here – for me the situation is closed.”
‘We have added a fantastic striker’
Costa, 28, scored 20 goals in 35 Premier League games to help the Blues win the title last season, but is not part of the Blues squad touring the Far East, with midfielder Nemanja Matic also left out.
New signing Tiemoue Bakayoko, who joined from Monaco for a reported £40m, is expected to replace Matic in the Chelsea side next season.
The Blues have also agreed a £60m deal with Real Madrid for their 24-year-old striker Alvaro Morata, with Costa keen to return to Atletico Madrid, even though they are under a transfer ban.
Morata was reportedly a transfer target for Manchester United, who have signed Romelu Lukaku from Everton for £75m, and has now travelled to London to finalise a move to Chelsea.
“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 to the squad,” Conte said of the Spain international.
“I think for sure this is a good signing for us. He is a young player, but has a lot of experience, he went to Juventus and Real Madrid. He has a lot of experience and this is good for us.”
Chelsea open their pre-season programme against Arsenal in Beijing on 22 July before travelling to Singapore for games against Bayern Munich and Inter Milan.