Just a day into August and football fans find themselves in familiar territory. Silly season is in full swing and once again, Chelsea FC is right in the middle of controversy.
And which player is more perfect to fit a bill involving controversy than the Premier League’s poster boy for controversy, Diego Costa? Don’t forget you can have a pre-season flutter with this William Hill promotional code.
While a move away from Stamford Bridge has been on the cards for some time, the departure of the Spaniard from West London is one of the most talked about transfers this summer.
The story writes itself. A return home to Vicente Calderon, the place where he arrived on the largest stage, the club that he calls home, coached by a man who fully grasps what Costa stands for, Diego Simeone.
First names are not all the pair share. In fact, they embody the same mentality on the pitch, fighting and scrapping till the final whistle to gain the slightest mental advantage by whatever means necessary.
While one lies between the lines and one in the technical area, both figures demand the spotlight equally.
Who would dare stand in between the reunion of this dynamic duo? No one, except Big Bad Chelsea Football Club. It’s classic to paint Chelsea’s hierarchy as the bad guys here. But give it a second look and it’s easy to see that they’ve done nothing but make a wise footballing decision.
First and foremost, Costa is Chelsea’s best striker of the last two seasons. That’s a no-brainer. But looking past the obvious, Costa is also Chelsea’s best striker since Drogba left Chelsea in 2012.
There hasn’t been a consistent goal-scoring threat in a Blue shirt since the Ivorian graced the Stamford Bridge pitch week after week. Costa, despite all the downsides to his edgy style, filled a Drogba-sized hole that was impossible to fill before the Spaniard arrived.
Samuel Eto’o, and Demba Ba tried to paper over the cracks of the impossibly large hole left by the Ivorian. And no one needs to be reminded of Fernando Torres’ years in a Chelsea shirt. Like it or not, Costa has been our best option.
Furthermore, Costa and Conte is a match made in heaven, if only the two could realize it themselves. The Italian manager very much embodies a similar disciplined, embattled style of Simeone.
Conte’s player battle for him and his fiery presence on the touchline ensures that his players don’t forget the message and style that the former Juventus manager is trying to deploy.
Costa is very much the physical embodiment of Conte on the field. He fights, he’s scrappy, he plays just on the edge. Some call him a liability, but I label him a catalyst.
While his style won’t win him any sportsmanship awards, it will lead to goals, and in turn victories. And what sports fan can argue with three points?
Therefore, with all the rumors linking Costa to an early departure, it’s concerning to see the sheer amount of Chelsea fans who have taken to social media willing to send him on his way.
This sentiment becomes even more concerning when one considers the options available to replace the Spaniard. Lukaku’s price is being quoted at almost double the price as Costa’s perceived market value. The Belgian represents a strong option, but likely overpriced and risky in return.
Edinson Cavani is a shadow of the player we saw at Napoli and would demand a higher fee than Costa would sell for. Morata seems destined for a Real Madrid stay and most other strikers have found a home or have chosen to remain at their current clubs.
Furthermore, Chelsea’s depth doesn’t lie at the striker position. Behind Costa, they have the young Batshuayi who is widely untested, though showing signs of potential. Bertrand Traore, who while promising, is not ready to shoulder the burden of a starting Premier League striker.
Loic Remy is unimpressive and injury prone and any other youth option is out of the question as Chelsea’s number one option. It’s even more frightening when one considers that Conte has opted for a 4-2-4 formation, utilizing two out-and-out strikers in Chelsea’s starting XI.
The options without Costa are at the very least concerning.
So before Chelsea fans ready the going away party for their striker who has lead them to a Premier League title in the last two seasons, perhaps they should sit back and take stock.
The fact is that Chelsea are infinitely stronger with Costa than without him. And judging by last season, Chelsea need all the talent they can get.