Jose Mourinho has brought in a number of top quality strikers to clubs during his career, at FC Porto in his native Portugal, at Chelsea in both his first spell and his return last year, at Inter Milan, and at Real Madrid.
Brazilian-born Spain international Diego Costa won the La Liga title in sensational style with Atletico Madrid last term and, under coach Diego Simeone they reached the Champions League final.
The 25-year-old scored a total of 36 goals across 52 appearances in all competitions this season and is subsequently expected to move to Chelsea to join the ranks under the Special One this summer.
Mourinho’s purchases during his time in Portugal with Porto and rivals Benfica prior to that were, understandably, much less expensive and much lower profile signings but upon his arrival at Stamford Bridge in 2004 following Chelsea’s takeover by Roman Abramovich that year, Mourinho immediately brought in Didier Drogba for £24 million from Marseille and Mateja Kezman for £5.4 million.
Drogba, as we well know, was one of the most successful ever signings to arrive at the Bridge and the Ivorian remains the Blues’ fourth highest goal scorer of all time, in the modern era of the Premier League his tally of 157 goals for Chelsea is beaten only by Frank Lampard.
He was 26 when he arrived in England from France and Drogba managed a tally of 16 goals in total in his first term for Chelsea. His highest ever tally for a season was 37 goals in 44 appearances in 2009/10 which is one more goal than Costa scored for Atletico this term across fewer appearances but we must also note that Drobga was then 32 and had seven years extra development and experience than Costa does presently.
Samuel Eto’o was signed by Mourinho firstly at Inter Milan in 2009 in a strange deal that saw Barcelona give them the Cameroon striker plus £35 million in return for Zlatan Ibrahimovich. Eto’o scored 16 goals in his first term at Inter and 37 goals across 53 appearances in his second season before moving on to Anzhi and then later Chelsea. Eto’o’s best season under Mourinho was both of their final seasons in Serie A and he scored one more goal than Costa did last term that season in one more appearances at the age then of 30.
Other notable striker signings of Mourinho’s are the £30 million deal for Andrei Shevchenko in 2005 at Chelsea and the €28 million deal for Diego Milito at Inter Milan in 2009. However, neither one of those players reached more than 30 goals in a season under Mourinho.
Overall, I have to conclude that, on present age and form, it is possible that Diego Costa has the potential to be as great a signing for Jose Mourinho as Didier Drogba was back in 2004 and certainly a better signing than any of the others, including Eto’o.
Costa is younger, less experienced and thus has more time to grow into his position and gain experience which, at his current level, is a little daunting to comprehend.
Whether he remains at Stamford Bridge for eight years, as Drogba did, and maintains his current level of performance, only time will tell but, on paper, he certainly has the potential to be Jose Mourinho’s best ever striker signing.