Belfast Telegraph

Conte confident Costa will pledge his future to the Blues in summer

By Matt McGeehan

Antonio Conte is optimistic Diego Costa will stay at Chelsea but says the striker's future will be addressed at the end of the season.

Costa, Chelsea's top scorer with 15 goals this term, was last month linked with a mega-money move to the Chinese Super League.

Speculation subsided and more recent reports have suggested Costa is nearing an extension to his Chelsea contract, which has two years to run come the summer.

Blues boss Conte insisted he was not aware of a new deal being on offer to Costa and vowed to resolve any issues once the campaign is finished.

"I don't know about this situation," said Conte, speaking ahead of today's FA Cup fifth-round tie at Wolves. "It's very important to be focused on the present and not to look so far forward. At the end of the season we will see."

He was then asked if he was confident over whether the 28-year-old Spain striker would be staying. Conte said: "Yes, I'm confident. The present is the game against Wolverhampton. We must go into the next round."

One striker who is nearing a Chelsea exit is Dominic Solanke. The 19-year-old has reportedly demanded £50,000-a-week wages.

"I think this is his will (to leave)," Conte added. "I have spoken with him. But we must have great respect for every decision that the player can take."

Chelsea have won the FA Cup four times since 2005-06 and Carlo Ancelotti led the Blues to a league and cup double in 2010.The double is a target for Conte, who says it should be his players' goal too. He added: "Usually I like to win and I like to try to win with my team, every competition in every season.

"We must have this mentality. When you are Chelsea's coach or you are a Chelsea player, you must have this ambition to try to win every competition that you play.

"For sure it won't be easy. In the league there are six teams very strong to fight until the end to win the title.

"In the FA Cup there are 16 teams. Our target now is to go into the next round."

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