Graeme Souness has expressed concerns over Diego Costa’s ability to perform in tight games for Chelsea this season.
The £32 million signing from Atletico Madrid has looked impressive during the course of pre-season for Jose Mourinho’s side so far, but Souness has doubts over the striker’s ability to perform in close matches during the upcoming Premier League season.
The Sky Sports pundit did have better things to say about another of Chelsea’s additions, Cesc Fabregas, though, and he believes that the Spanish midfielder will be a star in the upcoming campaign.
“Diego Costa – will he get the goals that will be the difference in a really tight game,” Souness questioned. “He had a great season with Atletico last year. But at the World Cup he was a shadow of himself, that’s the only question mark you have there.
“There’s no questions to be asked about Cesc Fabregas, he’ll come in from day one.”
Souness is correct that Costa looked off the pace in Brazil this summer, but he was recovering from an injury which had kept him out for the back-end of Aletico’s league season and wasn’t quite match-sharp.
As such, to judge him on his performances at the World Cup does seem slightly harsh – especially as he was expected to lead the line in a faltering Spain side.
Over the club campaign his performances should have given Chelsea fans confidence that he can compete in the Premier League.
The Brazilian born centre-forward scored 27 league goals for Atleti last year and was one of their protagonists as they broke the duopoly of Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spain and claimed the La Liga title.
It was these displays which convinced Mourinho that he could be the Blues big-money signing this summer and fill Chelsea’s problem position.
Last season the strikeforce at Stamford Bridge faltered and failed to score the goals to enable Chelsea to win the Premier League.
It means that Costa will have to adapt to English football quickly if they are to meet expectations as the bookies’ favourites this year and the powerful attacker will be looking to put any doubts over his ability to bed quickly.
He has the perfect chance to do just that tonight, too, when Chelsea take on Burnley in the first Monday night match of the Premier League campaign.