Diego Costa's 'career finished' if he leaves Chelsea for China, says Ray Wilkins

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Ray Wilkins explains why he believes Diego Costa was genuinely injured, despite missing Saturday's win at Leicester amid speculation of a move to China

Diego Costa will be waving goodbye to his career if he leaves Chelsea for the Chinese Super League, according to Ray Wilkins.

The Premier League's top scorer is due to meet with Antonio Conte on Tuesday after missing the leaders' 3-0 win at Leicester on Saturday.

A back injury was the official reason for Costa's absence, but Sky sources understand a training-ground row with Conte happened against the backdrop of a £30m-a-year offer from Chinese club Tianjin Quanjian.

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Wilkins told Premier League Daily the striker should choose his career over cash and resist the temptation to follow former team-mates Ramires and Oscar to the Far East.

Diego Costa celebrates scoring Chelsea's fourth goal in a 4-2 win at Stamford Bridge
Image: Diego Costa missed Chelsea's win over Leicester, officially with a back injury

"If it’s financial, and he wants to move to China, then I don’t quite understand it to be perfectly honest," said Wilkins, who captained Chelsea early in his career and was assistant manager under Carlo Ancelotti.

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A new rule is introduced to the Chinese Super League to reduce the number of foreign players. Beijing-based journalist Mark Dreyer explains

"I think as a footballer if you’re going to go to China, now at 28 years of age, you’re basically saying, like Oscar, your career is finished.

"You’re going there for the finance. Aren’t these young men earning enough in this country to enjoy playing their football?

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Oscar signs autographs for Shanghai SIPG fans as he arrives in China.
Image: Oscar left Stamford Bridge for Shanghai SIPG earlier in the season

"I would imagine Costa is well recompensed for what he does at Chelsea, and I would imagine there is a new deal for him there if he wishes to take it."

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Andy Dunn thinks it is certain Chelsea will not back down and let Diego Costa leave - so he believes there is is a way back for the Spaniard

While Chelsea won at the King Power Stadium without Costa, Wilkins believes any long-term absence could harm his former club's chances of reclaiming the title they last won under Jose Mourinho in 2015.

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Leicester 0-3 Chelsea

"Obviously a couple of players have come out, like Thibaut Courtois, saying 'of course we can win without Diego.' But if they are going to win the Premier League they are going to need this guy," Wilkins added.

"He has been in fantastic form. Last year the guy was almost a disgrace, this year he has just been superb. He causes havoc for everyone.

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The Soccer Saturday panel discuss Costa's situation at Chelsea with differing opinions on the matter

"This guy is scoring every type of goal this year, and if you ask any defender, they would say he is probably the toughest guy to play against."

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