Antonio Conte says there has been no movement on Diego Costa’s potential Chelsea exit, and labelled reports that Ross Barkley turned down a move to Stamford Bridge during a medical as “ridiculous”.
Spain striker Costa’s club career is in limbo after being told by Conte that he has no future at Chelsea, while a favoured move back to Atletico Madrid failed to materialise before deadline day.
Reports on Thursday suggested that Costa – who is AWOL in Brazil after refusing to return to training – is in talks with Fenerbache, with the transfer window in Turkey closing on Friday.
It has been suggested that a move is unlikely and Conte dodged questions as to whether a deal was close.
“No, no news on him [Costa],” he told a news conference ahead of Chelsea’s Premier League visit to Leicester City. “My focus is on the Premier League, not Turkey.”
Asked if Costa’s situation has been a frustration, Conte added: “When you are a manager and you must be paid, we must be prepared to face every situation.
“Every manager has a great experience to face these types of situations.”
England midfielder Barkley is another whose future is unclear, after he turned down the chance to leave Everton on deadline day despite his refusal to sign a new deal at Goodison Park.
Initially it was claimed that Barkley changed his mind on a move to Chelsea while undergoing a medical, although he later denied that was the case.
And Conte was also keen to put paid to those rumours, adding: “I don’t like to speak about other teams’ players. But it is ridiculous what I read.”
The Italian made no secret of his frustration with Chelsea’s business during the transfer window, with reported targets Romelu Lukaku, Fernando Llorente and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all moving to Premier League top-four rivals.
The Blues did add Danny Drinkwater and Davide Zappacosta on deadline day, to add to deals for Antonio Rudiger, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Alvaro Morata.
And Conte believes it is too soon to decide if Chelsea have had a successful window.
“It’s difficult to answer. We have to wait until the end of the season and then I can reply very well,” he said.
“The club tried to do its best in this window. Now it is closed and it’s time to continue to work with these players and I am very happy to work with the players we have.
“It’s time to focus on the present, the transfer window is the past.”
Conte on the transfer window: ‘The club tried to do its best. Sometimes you are able to buy, sometimes you are not for many reasons.’
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) September 8, 2017
On Thursday, Premier League clubs voted to close the window before the start of the season from the 2018-19 campaign – a move that Conte is behind.
“I agree, it is a good decision,” he said.
“If we have a clear plan it is not important to wait until the end of the window to sell your players.
“If you decide that this player has to stay then I don’t see any problems.”
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