Chelsea stars expect Diego Costa to be reintegrated into the first team this week but Antonio Conte is yet to be convinced that his rebellious striker deserves an instant recall to his starting XI.
Costa was again forced to train alone at the club’s Cobham HQ on Monday, with his team-mates not resuming training until Tuesday morning.
The Spain international has been training away from the rest of the first-team squad following a row with manager Conte over his fitness.
Costa has complained of a lower back problem, but figures at the club fear his head has been turned by an offer from a club in China.
Costa is expected to make a beeline to his manager on Tuesday in an effort to clear the air. That will suit Conte, who is reluctant to make the first move.
Regardless, Costa’s long-term future is under significant doubt. Chelsea will not sell him this month but are likely to change their stance in the summer when they can land a replacement, with Everton’s Romelu Lukaku and Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata under consideration.
Conte does not appear willing to start Michy Batshuayi in Costa’s absence, but Chelsea have turned down two loan requests from Paris Saint-Germain for the Belgian.
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