Chelsea manager Antonio Conte says he is unsure when Diego Costa will return from injury after leaving him out for Saturday’s 3-0 win at Leicester, according to a BBC report.
Costa had a dispute with a coach over his fitness and Conte said the 28-year-old Spain striker complained of a back problem on Tuesday.
There were also reports he is the subject of an offer to move to China.
“I don’t know how long it will take, I don’t have his pain,” said Conte. “We’ll see about this next week.”
Costa has been integral to the Premier League leaders this season, having scored 14 goals and provided five assists.
BBC Match of the Day pundit Ian Wright said: “For Costa to come out at this stage when they need him so much feels very strange. He’s scored 14 goals this season – you need someone like that in this team. It seems like it’s derailed what’s going on.”
When asked if a move to China would surprise him, Wright said: “Absolutely not. Costa doesn’t seem like the sort of person who cares what people think. Whatever happens – if it’s his back it’s very hard to detect – something has turned him.”
Italian Conte, 47, was repeatedly questioned about the rumours surrounding the player after watching his side move seven points clear at the top of the table.
Asked whether Costa has a future at Stamford Bridge, he said: “I can’t be concerned about this because today my players produced a great performance and showed spirit. I can’t be concerned with nothing.”
The former Juventus and Italy boss was then asked once more whether the Brazil-born forward would feature again for the Blues and responded with: “Why not?”
He added: “There are lot of ‘if’ questions – I don’t like to answer these types of questions.”
On reports of interest from China, Conte told BBC Sport: “I don’t know and the club doesn’t know anything about the reports of Costa to China. The truth is what I told you before.”
Left-back Marcos Alonso, who scored twice against Leicester, said: “You guys [journalists] made up the story. Diego wasn’t feeling well because of his back. He’s very happy and will have a great season at Chelsea.”