Chelsea star Cesc Fabregas has urged Diego Costa to snub a big-money move to China and stay at Stamford Bridge. The midfielder also expressed his delight at resurrecting his own career with Antonio Conte’s side following a disappointing start to life under the Italian boss.
Fabregas’ compatriot was heavily linked with a move to Tianjin Quanjian during the January transfer window, having been left out of the Chelsea squad for a 3-0 victory over Leicester City amid a row with Conte over fitness.
The Spain international eventually stayed in West London, but earlier this month Cadena Ser reported the 28-year-old striker had reached a pre-agreement with the Chinese side to complete a move to the Far East in the summer.
The Spanish radio station claimed the Blues could receive up to €90m (£77.1m, $99.5m) for his services after Costa and his agent Jorge Mendes met Tianjin Quanjian officials in a London restaurant to iron out the terms for agreement worth around €30m a-year.
Fabregas, however, expects Costa to change his mind and continue with Chelsea for the 2017-18 campaign.
Asked during an interview with Cadena Ser whether Costa has already spoken to him in Chinese, Fabregas joked: “If he doesn’t speak with me in English, I do not think he will speak with me in Chinese! I hope he doesn’t because Diego is a great friend, a great player and we need him here. [I wouldn’t like him to leave]. Not at all. He is very necessary for me in this dressing room.
“[The Chinese offer a lot of money but] at the end a player has to think what he wants to do in his career. I’m sure he will make the right decision but, as his friend, I think he is necessary at this club and in this dressing room. I have a good friendship with Diego. We talk a lot and he knows my opinion. Not just about this [a potential move to China] but about everything. We talk about life. He will decide with his family what is best for him and I am not nobody to get involved in that, but for me he is a very important player for this club.
Questioned whether he would moving to China if a big-money came in, Fabregas said: “No. I just turned 30 but I feel so good physically and mentally that I think I have many years ahead. I just think about playing at the top.
“I had a very bad start to the season. I did not play, then I got an injury and I was left out of the national team. It was a big blow. But I said that I was not going to give up and that I had to fight. The game against Manchester City [in December] was key to changing the situation. I have started to play a lot more since then. I earned the confidence of the manager and I am finishing the season very well. I am very proud of how I have turned around the situation.
“I never thought [about leaving during the January transfer window]. This season has been like a personal challenge for me. People said that I did not fit into Conte’s style and I wanted to prove them wrong. I have adapted phenomenally to the formation and I’m very happy. It’s a season to be proud but it’s still not over and I hope we can finish it by winning the double. It would be fantastic.”