Chelsea step up attempts to offload Diego Costa as exiled striker will not return to Blues fold
While the champions continued their preparations for their title defence in Asia, Costa remained the ‘ex on the beach’ in Brazil, beginning his own bid to regain his fitness.
It is a far cry from last season when the £40million marksman’s 20 goals helped Chelsea to win the title.
Conte confirmed last week that he cut Costa loose because he had grown fed up of his repeated bids to quit the club.
Alvaro Morata has since joined from Real Madrid to replace him for a club record £65million.
The Spaniard is in line to start Saturday’s International Champions Cup game against Inter Milan at Singapore’s Sportshub.
When Chelsea’s players returned for pre-season earlier this month, the Blues initially insisted Costa had been given extra time off after his summer break.
It is understood, however, he will not rejoin the first team at any stage with the club hoping to move him on before the window closes.
As a result, Costa has been going through a series of improvised drills, helped by two of his assistants, over 10,000 miles away.
AC Milan want to sign the Spain striker, 28, to add to their £180million spending spree on ten players.
Costa, however, wants a return to his former club Atletico Madrid and is more likely to agree to a short-term loan.
Chelsea will not budge on their valuation in negotiations with Atletico and are likely to maintain their impressive record of pulling in big fees for players they do not want.
The club remain relaxed in the belief that, with two years left on Costa’s contract, they will get what they want.