Chelsea's Diego Costa not ruling out China, tried for Atletico Madrid return
Diego Costa is refusing to rule out a move to China at the end of this season despite insisting that he is happy to stay at Chelsea, and admits he did everything in his power to force a return to Atletico Madrid last summer.
Back in January the 28-year-old was dropped from the Chelsea team to face Leicester City following a training ground row with a fitness coach and Antonio Conte over an injury, as well as a lucrative offer from Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian.
Chelsea were unwavering in their stance that Costa would not be sold in the middle of the Premier League season and the 28-year-old was swiftly reintroduced into Conte's starting XI, scoring four goals in 10 appearances since the incident.
Costa enters the final two years of his contract this summer, leaving Chelsea in a difficult position if they are unable to agree an extension, and the Spain international admits he could still follow former Brazilian teammates Ramires and Oscar to China at the end of the season.
Asked if the Chinese Super League could still be an option in the summer, Costa told El Larguero: "Anything can happen. Why not? You never know. Now I'm happy at Chelsea but if tomorrow the Chinese come and Chelsea tell me I have to go, I will no longer want to stay with them."
Costa has not fully warmed to life in England since joining Chelsea from Atletico Madrid for £32 million in the summer of 2014, and admits he pushed hard for a move back to the Spanish capital when Conte arrived at Stamford Bridge last summer.
"I did all that I could to return but it didn't happen," he added. "When Atletico had to wait for me, they didn't wait. There was still a month to go [end of transfer window] and they didn't have the patience [instead signing Kevin Gameiro from Sevilla].
"On Conte's first day, I told him that I wanted to join Atletico and he was upset with me and didn't even look at me. Luckily, I started to score goals."
Liam is ESPN FC's Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Liam_Twomey.