Chelsea striker Diego Costa will not be leaving the club for the Chinese Super League after manager Antonio Conte rebuffed further speculation surrounding the future of the Premier League's joint-leading scorer. Reports in Spain had suggested that the former Atletico Madrid frontman had agreed terms to move to an unnamed club in Asia.
Costa's future has been subject of reports since he was dropped by Conte after falling out with a member of the Blues' backroom team. The 28-year-old had been re-integrated by the Italian yet rumours that he is set to leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season continue to intensify.
Tianjin Quanjian were heavily linked with a move to Costa during the January transfer window, but were forced to abandon plans to acquire the Chelsea hitman after the Chinese government instigated a cap on foreign players in each CSL match-day squad.
Though the club in question have not been revealed, Costa is reported to have agreed a £25.86m [€30m]-a-year deal – the same offer Quanjian were linked with making last month [BBC Sport].
The deal meanwhile could be worth £73.26m [€85m] to Chelsea if the move goes ahead, with Costa having become "tired of London" less than three years on from his move from Atletico to the Premier League leaders. Conte has however denied a contract and wants to focus on the remainder of the campaign.
"I don't know," he told reporters at the pre-match press conference to preview the Premier League visit of Arsenal. "Every week I hear a lot of news, a lot of speculation over Diego and I think now the most important thing is to be focused on these championship and we are in a good position.
"Diego is an important player for us and he is happy to stay with us. These are the most important things not the future. What happens in the summer is far. It is important to be in the present than look to the future."
If Costa were to leave Chelsea at the end of the campaign then Celtic's Moussa Dembele could be among the players targeting to fill the void. The France Under-21 international has scored 20 times for the runaway Scottish Premiership leaders this term and was linked with a £40m [The Express] move to west London on deadline day in the January transfer window.
Conte has moved to once again denied any suggestions Chelsea were interested in Dembele, but has confirmed they attempted to sign goalkeeper Craig Gordon from the Celtic Park club as a way of allowing Asmir Begovic to depart on loan.
"Honestly, for Dembele I never talked to my club about these players. It is the truth," he added. "For Gordon, we tried a little bit. We tried to help Asmir Begovic to satisfy his request to go and play every game. But I always told him that if we were able to find the right solution and the right substitution he could leave. For sure, Gordon was one of the goalkeepers on the list to try to bring him here. We tried and when the club told us it is not possible, we finish.
"In this transfer window we took three young players. Nathan Ake, Kenedy and Musonda. Ake, when he played in the league he played every well and for sure now he is a player more mature than before. He can improve with us and help us for the end of the season. For Kenedy and Musonda, they are two young players with good quality."