Rumours of Costa leaving for Atletico Madrid have ben rife, but would his departure be so bad for Chelsea?
Bertrand Traore celebrates with Diego Costa after scoring the first goal for Chelsea
The protracted fate of Diego Costa has been a major talking point among fans and papers alike. The Spanish international endured a thoroughly disappointing campaign last season with Chelsea as the former Premier League champions failed to challenge for the title in a torrid season.
The likes of Eden Hazard, Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas took the majority of the blame with their below par performances exacerbated by the standards they set the year before. Ultimately, the axe fell on Jose Mourinho’s neck with the Special One ejected for a second time.
Costa did find goals under interim manager Guus Hiddink, finishing the campaign with 12 league goals, however, consistency still eluded him. A particular flashpoint for him was his sending off against Everton in a 2-0 FA Cup loss. His failure of a season was compounded by exclusion from the Spain squad for Euro 2016.
While Costa’s future is purely up for speculation at this point, would it be so bad if he were to leave?
Chelsea's Diego Costa in action with WAC RZ Pellets' Michael Sollbauer
He is an undoubtedly talented player. His finishing is his best attribute while his strength and power have caused huge problems for defenders both in Spain and England. However, Costa's temperament seems to always be under scrutiny. While being passionate on the pitch is a pre-requisite for any footballer, it seems that Costa is all too often reacting angrily to a defender trying to get under his skin. This generally results in Costa fighting personal battles that take him away from the opportunity to score or, worse still, being sent off for a rash tackle or lashing out.
Chelsea may then benefit from Costa leaving the club. This benefit would be doubled too, should it include any potential deal for Antoine Griezmann. The Frenchman was in sparkling form last season and was one of the major reasons why Atletico Madrid had two near misses in the league and in the Champions League.
Griezmann is an exceptionally hard-working player with his ability to run the channels and track back a huge plus to his game. He is also exceptionally quick and his unerring accuracy when finishing make him one of the games deadliest strikers.
However, Atletico coach Diego Simeone will be incredibly reluctant to lose his star player, especially with the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid continuing to strengthen their squads.
Chelsea's Diego Costa in action
Any potential switch will hinge on the two players themselves. A return to Spain may rekindle Costa’s form while Chelsea can offer Griezmann huge wages and the chance to be part of the Conte project that is only just beginning.
If Atleti are unwilling to sell Griezmann, it could pave the way for the return of Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian left a few years ago and has already made it clear he wants to be playing Champions League football. His goal output would benefit hugely from the creative ability of Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas behind him .With a few seasons of first team football under his belt at Everton, Lukaku could return to Chelsea as a far better player than when he left.