Diego Costa and Kenedy are expected to be part of Antonio Conte's summer clear-out after the Chelsea boss confirmed that the two players are not in his plans ahead of the coming season. It came as Chelsea issued an extraordinary rebuttal of claims made by Costa's lawyer. Meanwhile, the Italian manager gave an abrupt response when asked about Nemanja Matic's recent move to Manchester United.
Conte already said last month that Costa will leave the club during the current transfer window, claiming that the blues eventually made the decision back in January when the Spanish international was heavily linked with a big money move to the Chinese Super League.
But Costa still belongs to the Blues and his lawyer added more confusion to the saga earlier this week, saying that his client will hand in a transfer request in a bid to complete his return to Atletico Madrid. The lawyer added that the Spanish international feels that his client has been unfairly treated as he learned that he was no longer in the plans of Chelsea via a text message sent by Conte in June.
Conte, however, has hit back at those claims, assuring that Costa and his agent were informed about his plans far in advance.
"Again I have to repeat the same thing, for me it is simple and I repeat what I said in the past. The situation is clear for me that the player, agent and the club knew very well the future of the player in the summer, they knew very well. I don't understand why a lawyer is getting involved, I don't understand this," Conte said in the press conference ahead of the Community Shield clash with Arsenal on Sunday (6 August).
A Chelsea spokesman described the claims of Costa's lawyer as nonsense and added: "We don't usually respond to comments like this but I think that it is important that we do on this occasion. The premise the lawyer has put forward is wrong. The decision on Diego was made in January, the player knew the decision, as did the agent. Clearly the lawyer has not been well informed. The lawyer's argument that the club have forced the player is out is nonsense, as a club we are going to leave it there."
Costa's teammate Kenedy is also expected to be shown the exit door before the end of the transfer window. The Brazilian wing-back already spent the first part of the last season on loan at Watford and Conte suggests that could leave the club again this summer either on loan or via a permanent move.
The manager's decision came after the player was sent home from Chelsea's pre-season tour of the Far East following his controversial posts on social media that caused uproar in China.
"I think that Kenedy last season didn't play before he went on loan and played 20 minutes with Watford, when he went back with Chelsea he played only one game and part of the game in the Carling Cup. For him, for his development it is important to find the right solution and play regularly," Conte confirmed.
The two Chelsea players are thus expected to follow in the footsteps of Matic after earlier this week the Serbian completed a move to Manchester United.
Matic had previously been left out of the pre-season tour to China and Singapore amid suggestions that he neither was in Conte's plans ahead of the new season.
However, asked about the decision to sell the midfielder to United, Conte simply replied: "You have to ask the club about this."