The only fact we know, and even that has to assume that Diego is telling the truth, or at least some version of the truth, is that he got dumped via text.
Costa didn’t elaborate on the nature of the text or whether it was a conversation or whatever, but Chelsea’s side of the story was that Conte sent a text to everyone, wishing them happy holidays but reminding them to stay in shape, Costa sent back a flippant or cheeky or angry or misunderstood reply, and Conte (presumably losing his temper) let Costa know in no uncertain terms that he’s not wanted. Of course, Conte might have been planning to let Costa go anyway, and he just took this opportunity to do so. Doing so via SMS is rather cold blooded, but these things happen.
Now, Diario AS in Spain claims to have that exact message, which has now also been “revealed” by the Mirror and picked up by others like the Independent and the Mail.
“Hi Diego, I hope you are well. Thanks for the seasono [sic] we spent together. Good luck for the next year but you are not in my plan”
The misspelling really does add that realistic touch, like blood spatter on the cameras while filming a war scene. Costa apparently responded with a short “OK”.
But whether we believe this or not, it doesn’t really change the situation. As per his own revelation, Costa forwarded this message to the Chelsea Board, then, as per the Mail and also evidenced by his outburst, ignored the Board’s presumed reply to let them take care of negotiations and not air our dirty laundry in public. Nice going, Diego.
Meanwhile, the Mirror claim (as does the Telegraph in a throwaway note at the end of this piece) that Costa also forwarded this message to the rest of his Chelsea teammates, in an apparent bid to undermine the manager (if that’s true, he’s got to go; we can’t have players spreading discord) — there are some reports of “several” players unhappy with these events, though less so with the actual decision and more so with the delivery of it (this link goes to the Metro, but they’re just re-reporting The Sun).
Neither Costa nor Conte can be accused of lacking passion, so maybe, theoretically — and especially if it was just a Key & Peele-style misunderstanding — there could be a small chance of coming back from this brink once everyone calms down. But everything else that we’ve observed points to not only Chelsea wanting to sell Costa but perhaps Costa himself ready to leave (again, it should be added). It’s crucial to note that Chelsea’s briefing to the papers yesterday made it clear that they are siding with the coach on this issue, which could be seen as the final death knell of the infamous “player power” angle at the club.
Either way, Costa’s on his way out. Conte can’t exactly wash his hands of this, but his actions just accelerated what was already in progress since at least January. Conte’s also being blamed for the decreased value of Costa in the market, but even greater factors there are the new regulations in China which effectively closed that honeypot and the extension of Atletico’s transfer ban.
While it’s unfortunate that now all this is playing out in public, at least we’re not bored out of our minds waiting for next season, right?