Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas remains part of Antonio Conte's plans this season, despite reports linking the Spain international with a January move to AC Milan. The 29-year-old has not made a Premier League start this term and after speculation regarding a potential switch to Italy on deadline day, those rumours have resurfaced.

Italian website Calcio Mercato Web understands Milan have reached a verbal agreement to sign Fabregas on loan in the January transfer window, with his plight in west London showing no sign of improving. The news comes a fortnight after the Blues playmaker rejected a move to the red and black half of the San Siro, according to Goal.com.

Fabregas has been an unused substitute in two of Chelsea's four league matches this term, seeing just 26 minutes of action against Watford and Swansea City. Oscar, Nemanja Matic and N'Golo Kante have each been preferred to the ex-Arsenal captain, but Conte insists he has a role to play and could start against Liverpool on Friday (16 September).

"We all know Cesc is a fantastic player, and I'm pleased to see him in every training session with a great attitude," the Chelsea boss said, according to Sky Sports. "If he continues in this way it will be a very difficult choice for me. But I want this from my players – to put in my mind many doubts. We all know that Cesc is a great technical player, but I am also starting to know him as a man and he is fantastic."

Another theme of Chelsea's unbeaten start to the campaign under Conte has been the ill-discipline of striker Diego Costa, who is already on a domestic ban tightrope after picking up three yellow cards in four league appearances. But Conte is unperturbed by the prospect of losing his top scorer.

"Diego Costa is on three yellow cards and he is two cards away from a ban," the Italian said according to Goal.com. "But I am not too worried about this. Diego is still growing in this area. He showed a great attitude in our last game [against Swansea City] in a difficult situation. Diego is a passionate man and I want him to put this passion in his game in the right way. And he is doing just this.

"It is hard to tell your players that they have to pay attention because they risk a ban. Diego is aware of this. It is important for him not to get booked for strange situations. It can happen for tackles and when it is necessary. He is an important player for us."