Costa’s claims of being forced out by Conte “just nonsense” – Chelsea

Chelsea have described claims head coach Antonio Conte is forcing striker Diego Costa out of the club as “just nonsense”.

The 28-year-old’s lawyer, Ricardo Cardoso, told Spanish news agency EFE on Thursday that his client intended to ‘formally request a transfer’ and also threatened Chelsea with legal action.

Costa has been told he is surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge – a decision Chelsea insist was made in January – and Sky Sports reports the Spain international is wanted by former club Atletico Madrid.

Reports in the national press had previously suggested Conte had informed Costa that he was no longer wanted by the club via text message in June.

“If I may I would like to say something on behalf of the club. We don’t usually respond to comments of this nature, but I think we should do on this occasion,” a Chelsea spokesman said.

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“The premise the lawyer has put forward is just wrong. As Antonio has said, I think this is worth repeating, that the decision on Diego was made back in January.

“The player knew the decision, the agent knew the decision, and clearly the lawyer has not been well informed.

“So, the lawyer’s argument that Antonio has forced the player out by text message in June is just nonsense. As a club we’re going to leave it there and see what the window brings. ”

Costa scored 20 goals in 35 Premier League appearances last season as Chelsea cruised to the title.

Atletico are currently unable to register any new players this summer having had their appeal against their transfer ban rejected by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in June, meaning Costa would not be able to feature until January if he did complete a move back to the club.

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Conte added: “For me the situation is simple. I repeat what I have said previously, that the club, the player and the agent knew very well the vision of the player in the summer. They knew very well.

“For sure, I don’t understand why the lawyer has got involved. I don’t understand this, but I repeat the situation is very clear and it has always been the same.”

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