Chelsea manager Antonio Conte told striker Diego Costa to ‘go to China’ in their blazing row that has seen the forward dropped for their Premier League game on Saturday.

As exclusively revealed by Sportsmail on Friday, Spain international Costa had a major argument with Conte over his fitness, and has not travelled with the Chelsea squad for their late afternoon kick-off against champions Leicester City.

It appears Costa could leave Stamford Bridge this month, with Sky Italia reporting on Friday that Conte had shouted at Costa, telling him he is free to leave for the Far East during their heated exchange.

Costa, 28, believes he is suffering from a lower back problem linked to his history of hamstring injuries, and wanted to be rested this week rather than take part in Conte’s intense training sessions.

Conte, however, backed his medical staff, leaving Costa furious and meaning planned contract talks will almost certainly be put on hold.

This, and Conte’s comments, increases the chances of the striker being the third man to swap west London for China in this transfer window.

Oscar moved to Shanghai SIPG for £52m earlier this month, followed by John Mikel Obi going to Tianjin TEDA on a £140,000 a week deal.

While Chelsea were happy for two squad players to leave for big money, the loss of their main striker, who has scored 14 times in the league already this campaign, would be far less welcome.

There is also the impact on squad morale of the manager and a first team player falling out publicly, and of the fact Conte is already unconvinced by his attacking options at Chelsea.

Costa’s £33m understudy, Michy Batshuayi, has not impressed the Italian, and Chelsea have been linked with a move for Swansea City’s Fernando Llorente.