Premier League leaders Chelsea have been rocked by the furious row between striker Diego Costa and manager Antonio Conte, with the Premier League’s top goalscorer now considering his future at the club following an offer from China.
As reported by The Independent on Friday evening, Costa and Conte were involved in an angry exchange over the forward’s fitness after he claimed to be suffering from a back injury. The row follows the emergence of pictures that showed his agent, Jorge Mendes, meeting with the president of Chinese club Tianjin Quanjian, and the pair were believed to be discussing the possibility of an £80m transfer that would see Costa paid around £600,000-a-week – the second-highest wages in the world behind Carlos Tevez.
Conte has elected to drop Costa from his squad for Saturday’s Premier League trip to Leicester City, and his future is now in serious doubt given he has already expressed his unhappiness in London and also revealed how close he came to leaving Chelsea last summer when he spoke of life at Stamford Bridge at the start of the month.
Chelsea are continuing to monitor the future of Dimitri Payet, with the France international banished from the West Ham squad first team by manager Slaven Bilic after he refused to play for the club. Marseille remain the favourites to sign Payet, but The Express reports that West Ham are making contingency plans should they receive an offer they deem acceptable to sell the midfielder and are targeting Swansea’s Gylfi Sigurdsson.
It’s claimed that a £20m bid could tempt Swansea into selling the Iceland international for a second time, having bought him back from Tottenham in 2014.
Manchester United look ready to activate a clause in David De Gea’s contract that would tie the goalkeeper down for another year until 2021. The Spain international was subject of an intense pursuit by Real Madrid two years ago, only for the move to collapse at the last minute after the necessary paperwork failed to be completed in time.
However, with Real now believed to be eyeing Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois, United are ready to strengthen their position over De Gea’s future, with The Sun reporting that a clause in his current will be activated by the club to tie him down for an additional year.
Everton are currently waiting on the signing of Algeria forward Ishak Belfoil due to a delay in the move caused by his agent, with the 25-year-old failing to travel to Merseyside on Friday for an expected medical. The Standard Liege player remains in Spain at the club’s winter training camp, according to the Liverpool Echo, and has not yet travelled to the United Kingdom after his representatives delay negotiations between all parties.
A £10.5m fee has been agreed between the two clubs, although a conclusion to negotiations appears some way off.
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