Conte ignoring Costa to China talk

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The Chelsea manager is not concerned about speculation linking his star striker with a move at the end of the season

Antonio Conte has played down reports Diego Costa has agreed a close-season switch to China.

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Costa sat out last month's 3-0 victory at Leicester City following a reported disagreement over a back injury, with talk of a move to the Chinese Super League's Tianjin Quanjian gathering momentum.

The issue appeared to have been resolved when Costa made a goalscoring return to the first-team fold and Conte declared the Spain international happy at Stamford Bridge.

However, reports on Friday claimed Costa had agreed a £30million-a-year deal to leave Chelsea for China at the end of the season.

Diego Costa, Antonio Conte, Southampton, Chelsea, Premier League, 10302016

Commenting on the persistent links, Conte said: "I don't know, but every week I hear a lot of news and a lot of speculation about Diego.

"I think now the most important thing is to be focused on this championship and we are in a good position.

"Diego is an important player for us and he is happy. This is the most important thing. The summer is a long way away."

Chelsea were linked with moves for Celtic pair Moussa Dembele and Craig Gordon towards the back end of the January transfer window.

"For Dembele, I never talked with my club about this player," said Conte. 

"For Gordon, we tried because we wanted to help Asmir Begovic satisfy his request to go and play every game - I always told him if we were able to find a right solution he could leave.

"We tried, but when the club told us it was not possible, we finished."

Begovic had been linked with a move to Bournemouth but that transfer never materialised after Conte failed to secure a replacement.

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