Costa's career would be finished by China move, says Wilkins

LONDON: Striker Diego Costa's career would be finished if he followed his former Chelsea team mates Oscar and Ramires to China, the London club's former captain Ray Wilkins said on Monday.

Spain international Costa, Chelsea's top scorer this season, missed the 3-0 win at Leicester City on Saturday following media reports that he was suffering with a back injury.

British newspapers said Costa is subject to interest from China where Oscar is earning a reported 500,000 pounds ($600,000) per week having signed for Shanghai SIPG this month.

Fellow Brazilian Ramirez left London a year ago to join Jiangsu Suning.

"If it's financial and he wants to move to China, then I don't quite understand it to be perfectly honest," Wilkins, who also served as assistant manager at Chelsea under Carlo Ancelotti, told Sky Sports.

"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?"

Costa, understood to have a back injury, was photographed training alone at Chelsea's training ground on Monday, fuelling speculation that he could leave in the January transfer window.

Question marks about Costa's Stamford Bridge future are all the more surprising as he has thrived under manager Antonio Conte this season, scoring 14 Premier League goals.

"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," Wilkins said.

Chelsea managed comfortably at Leicester without Costa, but their hopes of winning the title would suffer a blow if they were to lose the former Atletico Madrid hitman.

"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." ($1 = 0.8295 pounds)