Chelsea talisman Diego Costa has recently revealed that he was close to leaving the Blues to make a return to Atletico Madrid.
In an exclusive interview with Kieran Gill of the Daily Mail, Chelsea frontman Diego Costa admitted that he was closing in on a move to former employers Atletico Madrid. The Spain international spent four years at the Vicente Calderon before moving to England.
“It was not to be. I was about to leave. I was about to… but, well, I’m happy here as well and that’s that,” said the Chelsea striker.
“I had the possibility to go to Atletico, because of a few things: the family, the life I have there. But not because of Chelsea, because here there’s a lot of love with the supporters, with the people, so I’m very happy here, I’m very content,” he added.
Last season was a forgetful one, not only for Costa, but for everyone associated with the club. At the start of the campaign, the expectations and moods were massively positive as Chelsea were on the back of an emphatic Premier League triumph in the 2014/15 campaign.
Jose Mourinho had returned to don the Chelsea hot-seat and instilled his philosophy to win the title in the second season of his second stint as Blues manager. Cesc Fabregas’ signing proved to be a masterstroke as the former Barcelona and Arsenal midfielder topped the assists chart and guided the Blues to their fourth Premier League crown.
However, the following season was everything the preceding one wasn’t. Bookies tipped the Blues to begin their spell of domination in the land, but they ended up shooting themselves in the foot, which eventually led to Mourinho losing his job for the second time in his Chelsea career.
The Portuguese manager lost the dressing room after the first few games and was lost for words when asked about his team’s undoings in the season they were looking to defend their title.
Striker Diego Costa, after having an ingenious first season in England, had a falling out with the then Chelsea boss. His performances plummeted and the once ferocious looking Blues attack, seemed to be toothless without its star talisman at his best.
Things further escalated when Costa was seen throwing a training bib at Mourinho in disgust. Despite all his accomplishments at Stamford Bridge, the end was nigh for the self-proclaimed “Special One.”
Mourinho was relieved of his duties as Chelsea manager and in came Guus Hiddink to serve as an interim until the end of the season. Post his arrival, Costa’s performances took an upward trajectory and suddenly there was plenty to be happy about for the Spain international.
He ended the season with 12 Premier League goals, eight fewer than the feat he accomplished in 2014/15. Yet, given his rather slow start, the statistics made for good reading.
After watching Chelsea finish in a dismal 10th place, the 28-year-old thought that the time was right and was contemplating on a switch to Atletico Madrid. Los RojiBlancos themselves were playing hard ball to retain striker Antoine Greizmann who was heavily linked with a move to Manchester United.
However, Costa remained a Chelsea player come the end of the transfer window and credited new manager Antonio Conte for his decision to stay. After winning plaudits as Italy head-coach during the Euros, it was Conte’s backing that saw the Spain international continue to ply his trade in the country.
And the decision has reaped huge benefits. Conte has been hailed for his tactical know how, but convincing Costa to stay was probably his best decision since being appointed Chelsea boss.
2016 – Most @PremierLeague goal involvements in 2016:
Diego Costa: 31
Sergio Agüero/Alexis Sánchez: 28
Harry Kane/Jermain Defoe: 23
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 1, 2017
The former Atletico striker is leading the goal scoring charts in the Premier League with 14 goals in 18 appearances. New signing Michy Batshuayi has been left out in the cold as Costa’s proficient run is showing no signs of stopping.
As per WhoScored, Costa has been involved in 19 (goals and assists) of his team’s 43 goals this season, accounting to 44.1 percent of all Chelsea strikes. He has also simmered down on his temper, and started to play with a cool head.
At this point of time, the Spaniard is an undroppable figure at Chelsea, and is the first name on Conte’s team sheet. The Italian as well as the Blues fans will be hoping that the 28-year-old continues banging in goals left, right and centre on a consistent basis and guide the London outfit to their second league triumph in three seasons.
Chelsea are six points adrift of second-placed Liverpool, and it is hard to fathom their success without the presence of their talisman. Pedro, Batshuayi and Hazard have all been deployed as a striker or a false nine this season, but none have replicated the magic that Costa has.
He brings the aura of precision with him every time he steps onto the field, and at his best, there are only a handful strikers in the world that are better than him. Costa’s contract at the club runs out at the end of the 2018/19 season. The Blues hierarchy are expected to have talks with the player next season to discuss his future and probably tie him down to a long-term deal.