Diego Costa should be trying to get under Antonio Conte's skin at Chelsea and may stand a chance of accelerating his departure from the Premier League champions by becoming a nuisance at the club's training base, according to former Blues midfielder Andy Townsend.

Costa, 28, is currently residing at his family home in Brazil after Conte informed him via text that he is no longer part of his plans in west London. The fiery Spain international is attracting interest from AC Milan and Atletico Madrid but is currently training alone, with a move away from the capital far from completion.

Chelsea are intent on selling Costa, who they value at £44m (€48.6m, $57.3m) but Townsend thinks the club are seeing the forward's value decrease due to the needless stand-off.

Townsend, who enjoyed a three-year stint at Chelsea between 1990 and 1993, says Costa should be trying to disrupt Conte's plans at the champions' training complex in Cobham instead of sulking 5,500 miles away in Brazil, where he is "not a problem" for the Italian.

"As a player, if he wanted to get under Conte's skin and get out of the club, he should have come back. He should be here with a big smile on his face every day," Townsend told Sky Sports, relayed by The Express.

"Conte looks like the type of man that thinks 'if you get in the way of what I really want to do every day, you are going to bug me and annoy me'. And I'd be knocking on the owner's door asking him to take the problem away. But sitting in Brazil, he's not a problem to Conte.

"If a move happens tomorrow, are you telling me he's in the best shape to turn up at a new club and start playing? Of course he's not. I think the player has done this wrong. Forget the text, so what if he was hurt by it?

"He should have come back, he should get himself ready to go but he should make it absolutely clear to Conte that he doesn't want to stay and play for him. If he said that, I'm sure things would start moving a bit quicker. All of this bravado from the other side of the world isn't getting him anywhere quick.

"Do your work, do your training, pick your wages up, appear to be a good pro on the face of it and be ready for selection but you can make it loud and clear in other ways that your time is done. The communication here has got so lost along the line. To be champions one minute and when there is a dearth of fantastic No 9's around the world, he is one of them.

"As an asset, Chelsea are losing millions on this guy. It defies any logic really."

Chelsea recently ordered Costa to return to training and make himself available to Conte, but the former Rayo Vallecano is unlikely to bow to his club's wishes and believes he has been treated like a "criminal" by the Blues, who are preparing to head to Wembley for their clash with Tottenham on Sunday (20 August).

Diego Costa and Antonio Conte
Costa is "not a problem" for Conte at the moment, says Townsend. Getty Images