Diego Costa told reporters on Wednesday that he's no longer wanted by Antonio Conte at Chelsea.
"My relationship with the coach has been bad this season. I suppose I've had a bad season so I can't go on," Costa said after Spain's 2-2 friendly draw with Colombia, as quoted by the Guardian's Ed Aarons.
"I'm going to be honest, the other day, Conte sent me a message saying he does not count on me for next season, so I'll have to find a way out."
The combative frontman was initially reinvigorated under Conte's management in the 2016-17 term, whittling foul play out of his game and firing 14 goals before the turn of the year. Reports in the middle of January, however, claimed that there had been a training ground bust-up between Costa and coach Julio Tous over an injury, and the marksman missed the next match against Leicester City.
His productivity dipped a little in the latter half of the season – he added just six more league strikes when he was reinstalled to the lineup – and rumours after the alleged fall-out that he'd be seeking pastures new wouldn't relent.
His favoured move to former employer Atletico Madrid can't be ratified until the club's transfer ban is lifted in January 2018.
Related – Diego Costa: 'I'll only leave Chelsea for Atletico'
"I love living in Madrid, but I have to think about my future," the 28-year-old continued. "It's complicated because I cannot go four or five months without playing. I have no preference for a league, I just want to play."
Costa's apparent non-concern about where he winds up will likely lead to speculation that he'll ink lucrative terms in the Chinese Super League, although restrictions on the number of foreign players able to be fielded at one time has slowed the influx of expensive talent joining the division.
Conte informing Costa that he's surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge may indicate that a return for Romelu Lukaku is nearing completion. The Belgian forward, who tallied 25 Premier League goals for Everton in the last campaign, revealed he'd reached an "agreement" over a transfer to an unnamed suitor on Tuesday.
Costa might not be the only frontman leaving Chelsea before the 2017-18 season. Michy Batshuayi stressed on Wednesday that he can't accept another season consigned to the substitutes' bench after a difficult debut campaign in England since last summer's £33.2-million shift from Marseille.
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