LONDON — Diego Costa trained alone on Sunday and Monday and will be assessed by Chelsea’s medical staff and Antonio Conte before a decision is made on whether he can rejoin the rest of the squad, sources at the club have confirmed to ESPN FC.
Chelsea’s players were given two days off by Conte after Saturday’s 3-0 away win over Leicester City stretched their lead at the top of the Premier League to seven points, but Costa was present at Cobham after being omitted from the squad that travelled to the King Power Stadium.
After the match Conte insisted that Costa’s absence was simply due to a back injury, but sources told ESPN FC on Friday that the Spain international had been sent to train alone for three days last week after becoming embroiled in a heated argument with a fitness coach and Conte.
There is also significant interest from the Chinese Super League in signing Costa this month, but Chelsea are adamant that their star striker will not be leaving Stamford Bridge and, on Saturday, sources close to the player told ESPN Brasil that he is not interested in a January move to Asia.
Costa trained outside at Cobham for around an hour on Monday accompanied by one Chelsea coach, and appeared to be in good spirits as he moved training apparatus around the practice pitch himself.
Club sources insist that Costa’s training regime is not a punishment, but rather the next step in his recovery from the back complaint that ruled him out of the Leicester trip. The 28-year-old’s condition will be assessed by Chelsea’s medical staff and Conte when the rest of the players return on Tuesday.
Asked about the severity of Costa’s back injury after the Leicester City win, Conte replied: “I don’t know. It’s always difficult because the pain I don’t have, his pain. It’s important to understand when he recovers. We’ll see next week about this.”