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Diego Costa denies China move from Chelsea FC is done

Brendan O'Neill in News 10 May 2017
Diego Costa (left) in action for Chelsea during a pre-season friendly match against Rapid Vienna (credit:livesport.co.uk)

Chelsea striker Diego Costa has insisted he will decide his own future – and that does not necessarily mean a move to China.

Costa scored his 20th Premier League goal of the season as Chelsea won 3-0 against Middlesbrough on Monday to move within three points of regaining the title.

The 28-year-old Brazil-born Spain international striker has been repeatedly linked with a lucrative move to Tianjin Quanjian in the Chinese Premier League since January.

But Costa told a South American broadcasting outlet:

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

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has insisted the “will of the player” is important in the future of any member of his squad, while Costa has previously admitted agitating for a return to Atletico Madrid.

He has two years remaining on the contract he signed when he joined from Atletico Madrid for £32million in July 2014.

Speculation over a move was at its peak in January when Costa missed the match away to Leicester City after reportedly having his head turned by a mega-money offer from Tianjin, who are coached by Italian World Cup 2006 winner Fabio Cannavaro.

Conte publicly stated his absence on that occasion was due to a back injury and the rumours subsided but then resurfaced last week.

It was suggested a £76million transfer had been agreed but Tianjin took to Weibo - China's equivalent of Twitter - to deny any negotiations had taken place.

And Conte last Friday did not clarify the situation, calling on Costa and all his players to maintain their focus on completing the season with silverware.

Chelsea have three matches in which they can win the Premier League and can do so with victory away to West Bromwich Albion on Friday.

The Blues also play Arsenal in the FA Cup Final on May 27.

John Terry, who has announced he will leave Chelsea this summer but not retire from playing, 19 years after making his debut for the club, is another to have been linked with a move to China but is thought more likely to continue his career in Europe or MLS in America.