Belfast Telegraph

Diego will stay - for now, says Conte

By Jack Pitt-Brooke

Antonio Conte insisted that Diego Costa's Chelsea future was settled until the end of the season after the controversial striker scored on his return to the first team against Hull City.

Costa scored just before half-time in the 2-0 win, putting them eight points clear at the top of the Premier League with just 16 games left this season.

Costa had been dropped for last Saturday's win at Leicester City after having his head turned by a £30m-per-year salary offer from Tianjin Quanjian.

Chelsea always insisted that Costa was not for sale and Conte said that his goalscoring return to the team meant that he was going nowhere this January.

But when Conte was asked whether Costa would sign a new deal beyond this season, he could offer no assurances.

"It is important Diego played a good game, and I hope this finishes the speculation about him, about me and him and about Chelsea," Conte said.

"I think we showed that we are a team with great unity, and I think that this is the real value that helps us stay top of the table.

"Diego has two years before his contract expires. I think his contract puts to an end the speculation. I repeat, he's very happy to stay with us. It's very important for us to concentrate on the present and not try and see too far into the future. That will risk us not seeing the present."

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