Paul Merson makes confident prediction about Chelsea and striker

The former Arsenal midfielder doesn't envisage Diego Costa leaving Chelsea striker

Paul Merson doesn’t anticipate Diego Costa leaving Chelsea before the end of the 2016-17 Premier League season.

The Spain international has been linked with a move to China in recent weeks amid talk of a big-money deal after scoring 14 times in 19 games in the 2016-17 Premier League term.

Costa missed Chelsea’s 3-0 win at defending Premier League champions Leicester City last weekend due to a back injury, although reports in the British media suggested that the striker had a falling out with manager Antonio Conte.

The Spanish centre-forward returned to training with the west London side this week ahead of their home clash against Hull City at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon.

Writing in his Daily Star column ahead of Chelsea’s clash against Hull in the Premier League, Merson backed Costa to remain at Stamford Bridge beyond the end of the January transfer window.

“He’s not going anywhere. I can understand if his head has been turned by China. Who wouldn’t have their head turned by over £500,000 a week?” Merson said.

“But he’s probably just using it to get more money out of Chelsea – and he deserves it. He’s been phenomenal this season.

“The stuff about him having a row with the fitness coach has been blown out of all proportion in my opinion. Fitness coaches have an argument with somebody every week, because nobody likes running!

“Ask anyone in the game. It happens all the time and it’s no big deal. He’ll be back in the team and scoring goals and if he ends the season with more than anyone else in the Premier League, Chelsea will be champions and it will all be forgotten.”

Costa netted 21 times in 26 games in the 2016-17 Premier League season after the centre-forward moved to Chelsea in a £32m deal from Atletico Madrid.

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