23 September, 2017
And on Thursday the 28-year-old Brazil-born Spain global was granted his wish after months of acrimony, claim and counter claim when Chelsea and Atletico agreed a fee reported to be in the region of £58million.
Chelsea confirmed Costa's exit on Thursday and the Spaniard will formally join Atletico in January. "We wish him all the best for the future", Conte said.
The Italian was asked about the breakdown in relations with Costa, but met the question with a firm rebuttal.
"I think a year ago they were quite good at taking things up to a line and not crossing it, and maybe they have just got that balance a little bit wrong". I work with my players, I'm very happy to work with these players.
Further attempts to discuss Costa, giving Conte the opportunity to reflect on their successful working relationship, were met with a similar response.
Hazard had made just three appearances off the bench for the Blues this season after breaking his ankle at the end of last term. That's where we find ourselves and it's coincided with the fact we can't play Kurt.
Chelsea play at Atletico next Wednesday in Champions League Group C, and all parties will be relieved the matter has been resolved.
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Kurt Zouma will be unavailable to face his parent club due to the terms in his loan deal, which causes defensive issues for Stoke with several other players out.
Pedro is expected to be fit to return from a leg injury at Stoke, but Luiz will serve the second game of his three-match domestic suspension following his sending off last weekend.
Antonio Conte has tipped Chelsea youngsters Charly Musonda and Kenedy to continue to play a key role for his first-team after impressing in the win over Nottingham Forest.
"In the last game I felt a good atmosphere in the changing room - a good link between young players and old players". He played with great intensity. Now his injury has been overcome.
With Chelsea facing the prospect of three games in seven days, Conte knows he will have to rotate his squad and believes he is now able to call on Hazard from the start, rather than manage him carefully from the bench. "There is the possibility now to try to pick him for these games".