Costa plays down China move, but Chelsea exit could still happen

Chelsea striker Diego Costa has told DIRECTV Sports that a move to the Chinese Super League has not been agreed, suggesting that he may not move to the Far East this summer.

What’s the word?

Ever since Tianjin Quanjian’s interest in the Spain international became known in January, speculation has been rife that Costa might depart Stamford Bridge for a new challenge.

Earlier in the season, the striker admitted that he wanted to return to Atletico Madrid last summer, but he was convinced to stay by new Chelsea boss Antonio Conte.

Sky Sports claims that Tianjin will attempt to lure Costa to the lucrative Chinese league when the transfer window reopens in the summer, but the man himself has poured doubt over a deal being struck.

He told South American broadcasters DIRECTV Sports:

“I am the owner of my future and it does not mean that I am going to China.”

Does this mean Costa’s staying at Chelsea?

There is every chance that the 28-year-old wants to remain with the West London outfit, but his comments do not rule out a move away.

The Brazilian-born striker could be using it as a ploy to force a better financial package or encourage another suitor to enter the race.

Or, he may not have decided where he wants to play his football next season, particularly as he and his Chelsea teammates are focused on lifting the Premier League title.

After Costa netted his 20th top-flight goal of the season in a 3-0 win over Middlesbrough on Monday night, the Blues can secure the coveted trophy with a triumph over West Bromwich Albion on Friday.

After racing out of the blocks at the start of the season Costa had a lull in front of goal, but he has since revived his form, netting three times in his last three outings.