DIEGO COSTA has opened legal proceedings against Chelsea, according to reports.
The out-of-favour striker is believed to be keen on a move to Atletico Madrid, but has been left angry that Chelsea appear to be blocking any move.
Head coach Antonio Conte on Friday said there was “no news” on Costa and responded “I don’t know” when asked when the striker might return to London
A Chelsea spokesman intervened, saying: “Nothing to report on that.”
Last week Chelsea dismissed as “nonsense” claims by a lawyer said to be representing Costa that Conte was forcing out last season’s top scorer.
But Press Association Sport understands a legal process is ongoing and there is no appetite to discuss the striker.
Conte has said it was decided in January, with Costa and his agent, Jorge Mendes, that the Brazil-born Spain international signed from Atletico Madrid in July 2014 would leave Stamford Bridge this summer.
So far this summer Costa, according to his Instagram posts, has been in Brazil.
His rumoured preference of a return to Atletico is complicated by their transfer embargo, which expires in January 2018.
Chelsea open their Premier League title defence against Burnley at Stamford Bridge on Saturday after a summer of speculation.
Conte’s future was also shrouded in doubt after rumoured friction over Chelsea’s transfer activity.
The Italian belatedly signed an improved two-year contract, but it was not an extension to his deal, which expires in 2019.