Following Diego Costa’s announcement that Antonio Conte does not have him in his plans for next season, all eyes have turned to the Spaniard’s would-be replacement, Romelu Lukaku, who has been heavily linked with a return to Stamford Bridge.
Breaking the news in his own unique style, Costa told reporters following Spain’s 2-2 draw with Colombia on Wednesday night that Conte had sent him a short text informing the striker that he was not in his plans for next season.
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In more recent days, Costa also took a swipe at Conte, saying:
“In life there are good people and bad people. I’ll stay with the good of everything. You have to ask him, not me. It’s an opinion of the coach, if he has the option of putting another in.”
Costa also stated that he wishes to return to his former club, Atletico Madrid, possibly on loan. With that in mind, Conte has spent no time attempting to wrap up a new striker for next season, and is seeking to recruit Lukaku, who wishes to make a return to Stamford Bridge himself.
With 25 goals in the league last season for Everton, only Harry Kane bettered Lukaku, and in comparison, Costa finished with 20 to his name. Despite his stellar record away from Chelsea, there are still doubts whether Lukaku is the right man to lead the line for the champions.
Looking at that on its own would tell you that Lukaku is clearly the better striker, he does after all have more goals. However, when you look deeper into the numbers, you can add another layer to your analysis and find that, despite having scored less, Costa’s goals were worth more than Lukaku’s.
With his 20 goals, Costa won 15 points, averaging out at 0.75 points per goal. In comparison, Lukaku’s 25 goals won Everton just six points, averaging out at 0.24 points per goal. So, despite scoring five less goals than his Belgian counterpart, Costa won three times as many points for his team.
Of course, on its own, this means very little, though. If you were to take the same approach, you’d find that Robert Snodgrass and Salomon Rondon were more valuable goal-scorers for their respective teams, in terms of points per goal.
This stat does, however, show us that Costa is the Premier League’s go-to man to win you a football match, with his points per goal ratio surpassing even that of 29-goal Kane.
Going hand-in-hand with this, Costa tends to spread his goals out. Out of all Premier League players with more than 10 appearances, the Spaniard has scored in the highest percentage of games, 45 out of 89, or 50.6%.
In his three years at Chelsea, Costa may not have won the golden boot, but by scoring on a steady basis at key times, Costa ensured that Chelsea won games. Even during the disastrous 2015/16 campaign, Costa managed 12 goals in 28 games, in a completely dysfunctional team.
Although Lukaku will indeed have better service at Chelsea and will obviously be in a better team, there is that lingering doubt whether he is the man for the big occasion.
Chelsea fans will remember his UEFA Super Cup final penalty miss against Bayern Munich, which lost the Blues the trophy that night. Fans will also keep in mind that Costa, much like Didier Drogba, always pulled through when it mattered.