Love him or hate him, Diego Costa is crucial to Antonio Conte’s Chelsea.
Although the temperamental striker looks set to secure a move back to Atlético Madrid, as the Independent have reported, this summer, could the club be making a huge mistake by selling our Spanish centre-forward?
For all of his theatrics and antics on the pitch, Diego Costa scores goals. In his three seasons at Stamford Bridge so far, the bullish striker has scored 54 goals, recording a goals to games ratio of 0.56 in those that he has started. That’s a pretty impressive record!
Moreover, in those three seasons, Costa has scored twenty or more goals in two separate campaigns. Not only does this show that the current Chelsea striker is a consistent performer, but he is also a menace in the opposition’s penalty area.
Although it’s true to say that Costa only managed 12 goals in the 2015-2016 campaign, I think we can all agree that he wasn’t the only Chelsea player who performed below their usual standards that season. I won’t name and shame.
For me, one of the key elements to winning a Premier League title is a consistent centre-forward who will get you 20 plus goals a season. Costa is that! So, why are we so eager to get rid of him?
Playing in a 3-4-3 formation for the Blues last year, Costa flourished for the Premier League champions. With Hazard and Pedro using the attacker as a human shield to penetrate the opposition’s defense, Chelsea scored a total of 85 goals, the second highest in the league.
Diego Costa’s performances for Chelsea last year act as proof that Conte’s 3-4-3 formation needs a robust centre-forward who holds up play and fights tooth and nail for every ball. Therefore, if the Blues are set to offload Costa and bring in Morata, as the Guardian reports, the Italian manager would need to totally change his winning formation.
As brilliant a player as Álvaro Morato looks, he is no Diego Costa. Measuring in at 6 ft 2 inches, Diego Costa’s fellow countryman is a lofty guy. However, you can hardly say that the current Real Madrid forward is as imposing and physical in his play as Costa, a player who makes Roy Keane look like a whimpering kitten.
As a result, if Chelsea were to bring in Morata from Real Madrid, the club would need a bigger striker to partner the Spaniard and change to a 3-4-1-2 formation. At the minute, Fernando Llorente appears to be this player, reports the Evening Standard. It was his 15 goals for Swansea last season that kept Paul Clement’s side in the Premier League.
But, what’s the problem of changing formation I hear you ask? The problem is that two attacking players would have to be sacrificed. This means that either Pedro and Willian, Pedro and Hazard, or Willian and Hazard would be relegated to the bench for the majority of games, with only one central attacking position available.
Not only would this upset two of our star players, it would also limit the speed at which the team as a whole is able to counter-attack and, as we saw last season, the oncoming rush of Hazard and Pedro is almost impossible to stop.
Looking at this, is the prospect of playing two strikers a problematic one?
As we established in the section above, if Chelsea are to continue playing Conte’s preferred 3-4-3 formation, we must sign a physically imposing centre-forward who, like Costa, will score 20 or more goals and season and, like Costa, bully Premier League defenders. So, let’s look at the options.
At this present moment in time, there are only two strikers who I believe could replace Costa as Chelsea’s focal point in attack. These are Juventus’ Gonzalo Higuaín and Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski.
Both of these strikers have phenomenal scoring records for their respective clubs, and would both rise to the challenge of battling Ryan Shawcross at the Britannia/bet365 Stadium on a rainy night in Stoke.
However, if Chelsea are to poach either of these strikers from their respective clubs, it is going to take an ASTRONOMICAL sum of money to tempt either club to even consider selling their prized asset.
Why put ourselves through all the hassle when we already have a world class striker on the books already?
Yes, it appears that Diego Costa will be an Atlético Madrid player by the beginning of next season if you are to believe the Independent. However, can we be certain that this is for the best?
Leave you thoughts in the comments below.