Diego Costa 'happy' at Chelsea but future questions remain amid London hint

George Flood
Diego Costa

Diego Costa insists he is currently content at Chelsea, although has done little to quell speculation regarding a potential summer exit from Stamford Bridge after appearing to hint that he is not happy living in London.

Costa has certainly not been shy regarding his desire to return to Atletico Madrid in the past and rumours regarding an imminent Chelsea exit intensified in January following a reported disagreement with manager Antonio Conte and fitness coach Julio Tous over a back injury. The fiery Brazilian-born Spanish international was left out of the matchday squad for a trip to Leicester City but returned to action the following weekend and scored in a routine home victory over Hull City.

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Such an episode was exacerbated by potential interest from the Far East, with Chinese Super League outfit Tianjin Quanjin believed to have made an eye-watering £90m ($111.6m) offer for his services.

While that initial pursuit failed, subsequent reports from Cadena Ser suggested that he had already agreed to join an unnamed CSL outfit this summer in a lucrative deal said to be worth approximately €30m-a-year.

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Costa has also appeared open to the possibility of a future switch to Ligue 1 while praising the likes of Marseille, Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain. Providing an update on his situation during a recent interview with French broadcaster SFR Sport, the 28-year-old insisted he was happy at Chelsea but not necessarily content with life in the capital.

"I have another two years on my contract," he said. "I am always very honest with those close to me. I tell them that I am very happy at Chelsea. The club gives me a lot, the fans, the team-mates. I am in a team that is winning and that motivates me even more. Last season was not the best, not just for me but for other players and for Chelsea.

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"This year I hope will be different, that we win titles. If you are in a team that is winning, you always want to stay for the allotted amount of time. I am happy at Chelsea, I am not necessarily saying that I am happy with my life in London, but that is something completely different. It has nothing to do with it."

Scoreless run

Costa was the Premier League's top scorer at the time of that row with Conte, although has since fallen behind the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Harry Kane and Alexis Sanchez in the race for the Golden Boot. Currently tied with evergreen Manchester United talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic with 17 goals in 29 top-flight appearances, he has not found the net at club level since scoring with a scrappy close-range effort in a 2-1 victory at West Ham United on 6 March.

It is the first time that the former Real Valladolid frontman, who did notch a fourth international goal in as many caps for Spain during last month's 4-1 World Cup qualifying rout of Israel in Gijon, has failed to score in four consecutive Premier League games. He might have ended that run in Saturday's (8 April) 3-1 win at Bournemouth that saw title favourites Chelsea maintain their seven-point lead over nearest challengers Tottenham Hotspur with seven games left to play, only for a wayward first-half shot to be deflected into his own net by Adam Smith. It was officially credited as an own goal.

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