Diego Costa and Antonio Conte
Costa has been training with Chelsea in the US but a back problem has prevented him from playing. Getty


  • Spain international remains linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge.
  • N'Golo Kante poised to feature for his new side for first time.

Chelsea striker Diego Costa is to step up his return from injury ahead of the new season and make an appearance in the club's final International Champions Cup match against AC Milan on Wednesday.

The Spain international has seen his future at Stamford Bridge fall under scrutiny amid links with a return to Atletico Madrid, while a back injury has prevented him from appearing under new manager Antonio Conte during their pre-season tour of the United States.

Chelsea's Premier League campaign begins away to West Ham United on 15 August with Costa now in race to prove his fitness.

"Diego Costa, I am very confident about his injury," Conte told a press conference ahead of Wednesday's clash in Minneapolis," ESPN report. "Now he is available for the game against Milan. He is available and I am very happy that I can count on him.

Summer signing N'Golo Kante meanwhile is yet to feature for the Blues since sealing his move from champions Leicester. The midfielder was given an extended break after France's Euro 2016 campaign but is also expected to feature against the Rossoneri.

"Kante is in good shape and I found him very good condition," Conte continued. "Now he is working on the tactical aspect, also the physical aspect. But right now he is in good shape. Tomorrow [Wednesday] he can play one half or 30 minutes, but he is ready. He is ready and I am very happy to see him so ready to play."

Chelsea are set to start the 2016-17 season without Kurt Zouma, however, after the France international suffered a serious knee injury last season.

The former Saint-Etienne starlet hopes to return in September and, while Conte is pleased with his progress, insists the club will be patient with his return.

"Zouma is improving a lot. That is good news for us. But we know that his injury is very bad, and for this reason I think that we must respect the time, we must respect him and it is important he takes his time to be sure."