Costa warned Chelsea could leave him to rot for two years

Chelsea have the “financial power” to stop Diego Costa leaving and make him see out his contract, says former Blues coach Steve Clarke.

The Spain international was expected to be on the move this summer after being informed that he no longer figures in Antonio Conte’s plans.

Chelsea 6/1 to win Premier League title

He is, however, still on the books at Stamford Bridge, with a transfer ban imposed on Atletico Madrid – his preferred destination – further complicating matters.

Costa has not returned to training after the summer break, though, and Clarke feels stubbornness on Chelsea’s part could see them block a move completely and leave the 28-year-old to rot.

He told talkSPORT: “At the moment Costa is making it difficult for himself. He hasn’t gone back to the club, he’s not training, he’s not earning his money.

“I think Chelsea have got the financial power to make him see out the rest of his contract.

“If Costa doesn’t want to come back in and honour his deal, then Chelsea have got the financial power to say, ‘ok, you’ll sit for two years and not play’.

“But that’s not an ideal situation for anybody.

Costa and Chelsea in legal dispute

“I think they need to get all the parties together, sit them down and thrash out some kind of a solution that’s best for everybody – even if it’s a short-term one.

“I think they need somebody at the top, probably right at the top – it’s probably a job for Mr Abramovich to be honest.”

Steve Clarke Diego Costa Chelsea

Former Chelsea defender Mario Melchiot has echoed those sentiments, with the ex-Netherlands international warning Costa that he is in danger of killing his career by battling against his current employers.

He told talkSPORT: “He will always be the biggest loser.

“You can never go against a club. You are never going to win.

“You can try as hard as you want, but the club has the longest breath. As a player, you have to make the right decision. You don’t want to kill your career because of the situation he is in now.

Chelsea risk losing their title

“Both of them [Costa and Conte] don’t want to work together. Now it comes down to Chelsea saying ‘Costa, come here, let’s talk about the situation and make sure you can go’. 

“He wants to hold out and say ‘I don’t even want to come back, I want you guys to close out a deal so I don’t come back to the Bridge’, but it doesn’t work like that. No player can do that. No player has the right to do that.” 

Costa has hit out at Chelsea for treating him like “a criminal” and claimed that he would be prepared to spend a year in Brazil unpaid if it helped to get him out of the club.

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The current situation stands in stark contrast to that enjoyed just a few months ago, when Costa’s 20-goal haul helped the Blues to recapture the Premier League title.

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Lovren suggests Liverpool’s Coutinho valuation determined by Neymar comparison

Dejan Lovren believes the value of Liverpool team-mate Philippe Coutinho can only be determined when compared to Neymar’s record-breaking transfer fee.

The Reds continue to fend off interest in their Brazilian forward, with Barcelona having seen two bids knocked back – the second totalling £90 million.

Firmino enhanced to 7/1 to score v Hoffenheim

Liverpool are understandably reluctant to sell and will not be pressured into a deal despite the furore surrounding Coutinho’s future or his tabling of a transfer request.

It remains to be seen what the next move will be by both sides, but Lovren feels any asking price has been driven up following Paris Saint-Germain’s €222m acquisition of Neymar.

He told Sportske Novosti, using the inflated market for defenders this summer as another example – with Manchester City having spent £50m on Kyle Walker: “When I came to Liverpool, in a 20 million Euro transfer, I was expensive. And now defenders cost 40, 50, 60 million.

Firmino: Coutinho exit would be awful

“Times change and if Neymar costs more than 200 million, you will not sell Coutinho for 50, that is how the market works.”

EMBED ONLY Philippe Coutinho Barcelona

While fully aware of the speculation following Coutinho around at present, Lovren insists the subject of his future has not been discussed at length by those alongside him in Jurgen Klopp’s squad.

The Croatia international added ahead of a Champions League play-off clash with Hoffenheim on Tuesday: “I can’t say much about Coutinho as us players don’t discuss that among each other.

Klopp has no say in Coutinho saga

“The club will decide but of course we would miss him because he is great player, hard to replace.

“He and [Adam] Lallana will be hugely missed in the Hoffenheim game.”

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Coutinho has not been included in Liverpool’s squad for their first European outing of the season, while Lallana is nursing a thigh injury which is set to keep him sidelined for the next couple of months.

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Martial warned against trading Man Utd for Inter by World Cup winner Petit

Anthony Martial has been urged to stick with Manchester United, with Emmanuel Petit warning against a possible move to Inter.

The Serie A outfit are just one of a number of sides to have been linked with the France international this summer, with Tottenham another of those reported to hold a strong interest.

Man Utd 11/4 to win PL

Admiring glances have been cast in the direction of Old Trafford as Martial has struggled to hold down a regular starting role under Jose Mourinho.

Fellow countryman Petit is, however, of the opinion that the 21-year-old is capable of becoming a key figure in an improving United side and believes it would be wise for him to shun interest from afar.

“Manchester United, they are building a team to play for the title this year,” the World Cup winner told SFR Sport.

“They will play the Champions League, he [Martial] will have playing time and the competitions will be long until the end of the year. 

‘Utd a winger short of being complete’

“So going to Inter which is under reconstruction, there are a lot of uncertainties at this level there. 

Romelu Lukaku Henrikh Mkhitaryan Anthony Martial Manchester United

“It’s a risk to take but I think he has the qualities to claim to play more at Manchester United.

“Whether it is on the left side or even in the centre, he has already shown that he has the instinct of a scorer.”

Mourinho rules out Martial exit

Martial was named on the bench once again for United’s Premier League opener against West Ham on Sunday, with Marcus Rashford and Henrikh Mkhitaryan favoured alongside Romelu Lukaku in attack.

He was, however, to step off the bench and round off the scoring in a comprehensive 4-0 victory for Mourinho’s side.

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The France international will also be aware that there will be many more opportunities to come, with United once again looking to strike the right balance between domestic and European commitments in 2017-18.

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Klopp has no say in Coutinho saga amid Barca speculation

Jurgen Klopp said Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group have the final say on Philippe Coutinho’s future at Anfield as Barcelona push to sign the Brazilian.

Coutinho is believed to have handed in a transfer request on Friday, amid growing links with La Liga giants Barca, who are looking to fill the void left by Neymar.

Firmino enhanced to 13/2 to score v Hoffenheim

The Brazil international’s request came just hours after Liverpool insisted they will not entertain any offers for the 25-year-old.

Coutinho, who missed Saturday’s season-opening 3-3 draw at Watford in the Premier League, will sit out the first leg of Liverpool’s Champions League play-off against Hoffenheim on Tuesday due to a back problem.

As doubts remain over Coutinho, Liverpool manager Klopp admitted his hands are tied.

“If, for example, there is an offer for a player and I say, ‘No’, and the owners say, ‘Yes, let’s ask for a number on how much they want to pay’. And I say, ‘I don’t want to hear it’. But they say, ‘We want to hear it, £50million … £50 million is cool,'” Klopp said. “So then they sell the player — that is how a club works.

Klopp: No change in Coutinho situation

“That is how it was with Hans-Joachim Watzke [chief executive] at Dortmund. Do you think I said, ‘Sell Nuri Sahin to Real Madrid as quick as possible?’ It was not my decision. The player had a contract. They agreed. I am 100 per cent, really, 100 per cent [when I say] I don’t ask for things I can’t get and I respect the rules in the game.

“If they [FSG] say they [Barcelona] will bid whatever and we don’t want it then it is a clear message. We don’t want money, we want to invest in the team and have the best team because we have aims and dreams. That is the message.

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“It’s not important what I think. I have the player from August 31 latest, again, or when the back issue is sorted,” Klopp added. “There is nothing else I can say about it. I think I said, ‘I have bosses’, right? I have many bosses, including my wife. I can live with this, it’s no problem. They [the owners] are 100 per cent clear on it. There is nothing else to say.”

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Premier League moves to close transfer window before season – reports

The Premier League is moving to adjust the summer transfer window so the deadline comes before the start of the season, according to multiple outlets.

The Telegraph and The Times have reported that Premier League teams are set to decide on the proposal at a shareholders’ meeting on September 7, with the vast majority of clubs expected to vote in favour of the move.

Should the vote go as planned, the change would be put in effect ahead of the 2018-19 Premier League campaign. The current transfer window is scheduled to close August 31, nearly three weeks after the Premier League season opened with Arsenal’s victory against Leicester City on Friday.

Barca signing Paulinho embarrassing

The timing of this year’s deadline has left several players in limbo, with Everton playmaker Ross Barkley, Swansea City midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson and Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk among the high-profile transfer targets still seeking clarity about their futures.

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The proposed deadline reportedly will only apply to incoming transfers, with Premier League clubs still permitted to sell players abroad after the season starts.

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