Chelsea: Antonio Conte Reveals All About Diego Costa Fallout and 'Crazy' Transfers

Conte and Costa
Antonio Conte, left, and Diego Costa at the UCLA Campus in Westwood, California, on July 26, 2016. MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty

Antonio Conte has revealed that Chelsea's decision to get rid of controversial Spanish striker Diego Costa was made in January.

The Italian manager, who won the Premier League last season in his first campaign in English football, was reportedly involved in an infamous text message with Costa, in which he told the Spaniard he was not needed.

According to the BBC, Conte texted his players wishing them a good holiday, to which Costa gave a jokey reply. Conte responded by saying: "Hi Diego, I hope you are well. Thanks for the season we spent together. Good luck for next year but you are not in my plan."

Speaking on the subject for the first time, Conte told reporters, including the Daily Mail, "I don't like to talk about players who are not here.

"In January, the Costa situation was made very clear. For the club, for him and his agent and for me, the situation is closed."

Chelsea had looked to replace Costa, 28, with Romelu Lukaku, but was beaten to the signing by José Mourinho's Manchester United, which paid £75 million (about $98 million) for the Belgian. Instead, Chelsea has turned to Spanish striker Alvaro Morata and has agreed a fee with Real Madrid, with his £70 million move subject to a medical.

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"For sure this transfer market is crazy," Conte said. "Not only for this season, but now, if you want to buy a simple player—a normal player—you have to start to think about spending 40 to 50 million euros.

"Lukaku cost a lot of money, but the same with [Alex] Lacazette and Arsenal, who spent 65 million euros. For a right-back, you spend 60 to 70 million euro. This is the situation now."

Chelsea has been busy in the transfer market this summer. Morata will become the fourth signing after the arrival of Willy Caballero, on a free transfer from Manchester City; Antonio Rüdiger from Roma for £34 million; followed by Tiemoue Bakayoko from A.S. Monaco for £40 million.

After Chelsea's preseason tour of the United States, Conte's team will face Arsenal at Wembley Stadium for the Community Shield in its first competitive match of the season on August 6.