Chelsea have included Diego Costa in their Premier League and Champions League squads, despite the striker’s exile from their first team.
The shock revelations were made on Friday evening, but the Daily Mail believes it is a ploy by Chelsea to protect themselves in the event Costa takes legal action against the club.
The Spaniard remains holed up in his Brazilian hometown of Lagarte, having failed to report back for preseason training or the new campaign.
Costa spearheaded the Blues’ Premier League triumph last season but claims manager Antonio Conte told him he could leave Stamford Bridge via text message.
A war of words between the pair has since been made public, while Alvaro Morata seemingly arrived as the 29-year-old’s replacement, even taking his No 9 jersey.
Atletico Madrid have been heavily linked with bringing Costa back to the Spanish capital, but they have yet to agree a fee with Chelsea.