Chelsea have Monday off, as usual, but will be back to Cobham on Tuesday as preparations begin for Hull City at home on Sunday.
Presumably, Diego Costa will be there as well, if his back injury allows, either training with the group or individually, depending on the severity of his ailment. Unless of course all the headlines about Chinese interest, bids, machinations are true. But there’s very little that makes sense about Costa going to China (both in personal terms between him and Conte, as well as competitive reasons) and it’s the latter that Conte’s banking on when addressing all these rumors floating around at the moment.
“I think we're a great club and it's a great honour to play for Chelsea and for this reason I don't see a threat from China for my players. The money is not everything. When you play for a great team like Chelsea, you must be pleased with your situation.”
It’s a strange situation for Premier League teams to not be the top of the financial food chain — even with rumors of new controls coming down on the CSL, both in terms of financial and foreign player restrictions — and criticizing players for jumping at the money is a bit hypocritical considering that’s exactly how the Premier League became, well, the Premier League. But money can’t buy you
Stones prestige, and that’s the ace up our sleeves even as Willian becomes the latest to be linked with such a transfer.
“The Premier League is really competitive. I think that the Premier League can attract every player because this league is the best in the world for a lot of positive things.”
“For this reason, I repeat: these offers from China are not a threat for our league. Money is not everything in football. I don't worry about agents destabilising my players.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Mail
Money may not be everything, but it is often the biggest thing. There are no definitive answers in these cases and what may be true for one player may not be true for others. Everyone’s got their own values; all we can do is make Chelsea the most attractive destination — through a combination of money, trophies, and “culture”, for lack of a better word — and help them make the “right” decision.