Recent reports suggest that Diego Costa is unsettled at Chelsea. The Hard Tackle lists out five possible summer destinations for the Spain striker.
Chelsea have enjoyed an unbelievable rise to prominence this season after what was a disastrous Premier League title defence in 2015/16. Imperious for the most part, they have blown the competition away, and look set to reclaim the title they lost last sason, despite stuttering slightly in recent weeks.
Their talisman in the first half of the season, Diego Costa though, has seen his campaign go pear shaped ever since the turn of the year. Costa has found the back of the net just three times in Premier League outings in 2017, and has failed to score any goal in his last five – his worst league scoring drought for the West London club.
The ups and downs of 2016/17, indeed resemble his entire Chelsea career, which has been a big topsy turvy ride for the 28-year-old. But recent reports suggest that there could be more than what meets the eye in his latest slump in form.
Certain reports have claimed that Costa is “sick of” living in London and is looking for a way out the Stamford Bridge exit doors in the summer. With a summer move away from the Blues seeming to be possible, The Hard Tackle lists out five potential destinations for Costa.
This destination may come as a surprise for many, seeing as Costa hasn’t really been linked with the Parisian club. However, some reports have suggested that Edinson Cavani could be moved on by PSG at the end of the season.
If that indeed were to happen, Costa would prove to be the perfect replacement for the Uruguay hitman. Cavani has, in fact, notably resurrected his stuttering PSG career this season following the exit of Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Parc des Princes last summer.
Having stepped out of the shadows of the Swedish striker, Cavani has been in prolific form this season, scoring 43 goals in as many appearances across all competitions for Les Parisiens. 30 of those have come in Ligue 1, making him the top goalscorer in the French top flight by some margin.
Cavani is also closing in on Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s record 50-goal haul from 2015/16, as he lies just 7 adrift of equalling the mark set by his former teammate last season. However, the Uruguayan has often been criticised for being wasteful in chance conversion as well as not living up to his potential in clutch situations.
Costa, on the other hand, is one of the most clinical strikers in Europe, and brings his fellow attackers into the play by creating more chances for them (30 to Cavani’s 14 in their respective leagues). So, if anything, Costa could prove to be a slight upgrade on Cavani, if PSG indeed end up offloading him.
However, in the case that PSG do keep hold of Cavani, it is highly unlikely that Costa will move to the French capital as he could be unwilling to share game time when he is at the peak age of his career. Thus, it could all depend on PSG selling Cavani in the summer.
Atletico Madrid are one of the most settled outfits in Europe currently, with a core group of players who have played with each other for the last three seasons. Their star during this period has been French forward Antoine Griezmann.
Playing up front alongside either Fernando Torres or Kevin Gameiro, Griezmann has been one of the most dangerous forwards in the continent, standing toe to toe with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
The Frenchman was also the top scorer in Euro 2016 and has continued his excellent form this season as well. However, his superlative performances have ended up putting a target on his back, with some of the biggest clubs in Europe now circling around him.
While it is still not set in stone that Griezmann would indeed move away from Atletico in the summer, Costa has emerged as a possible target for Los Rojiblancos. Costa enjoyed a fruitful spell five-year spell with Atletico, and he had emerged as one of the key players for the Spanish side before earning a move to Chelsea in 2014.
And by his own admission, he still retains some fond memories from his time in the Spanish capital and has failed to rule out a return to Atletico. If Griezmann indeed ends up moving away from the club in the summer, Costa could prove to be a top quality replacement for the French international.
And even in the case that Griezmann stays with Atletico, Costa’s possible return will provide Diego Simeone with a definite upgrade on both Torres and Gameiro, and make the strike partnership of Costa and Griezmann one of the most fearsome in Europe.
China has emerged as a big player in the transfer market of late. Several big money moves have taken place in the last few transfer windows, with the likes of Carlos Tevez, Oscar, Hulk, Axel Witsel and several other top players moving to the Asian nation that has a lot of riches on offer.
Costa, too, has emerged as a big target for clubs in the Chinese Super League, and Tianjin Quanjian tried signing him in January as well, before a move failed to materialise. However, recent reports have suggested that Chinese clubs could be back in the market for the Chelsea striker in the summer, and this time with all of their firepower.
A pay package of £34million a year after tax is set to be offered to Costa, a deal that will make him the highest paid player in the world. In fact, Costa has previously even admitted that a move to China could be on the cards.
The wages on offer are quite significant as well, and they are enough to turn a player’s head into accepting such an offer, even though the football in China may not be as glamorous as in Europe.
The only stumbling block, thus, could be Costa’s willingness to play in the Champions League, and if that is not a concern to the player himself then we could well see Costa become the latest big name player moving to China in the summer.
This is another destination that could come as a surprise for many, because neither of the two Milan sides have been linked to Costa. But it is important to note that both clubs have been recently taken over by wealthy Chinese investors, who are willing to sanction lucrative deals in order to bring the glory days back to the Milanese clubs.
Certain reports have indicated that the managers at both AC Milan and Inter are set to receive a transfer war chest in the summer in order to revamp the side to the levels of some of the top clubs in Europe. When that happens, both the Milanese outfits are likely to bring in reinforcements all across the park.
A striker is likely to be a top priority for AC Milan, as neither Suso nor Carlos Bacca match up to the standards of world class forwards whose presence is imperative for the best teams in the world. Thus, Costa will definitely be a big upgrade on both the forwards at San Siro, and a player whose profile could fit well among the new owners.
Meanwhile at Inter Milan, captain Mauro Icardi has been going great guns for Nerazzurri, but there is little to choose beyond him. Costa’s addition could make Inter’s attack a truly fearsome force to deal with for opposition defences.
Money is unlikely to be a problem for the two cash-rich group of owners, and they could certainly match the packages on offer from some of the biggest clubs in Europe.
However, like China, the unavailability of European football could prove to be a hindrance in a potential move, although that problem could possibly be solved by one year of European inaction.
By now, you must be thinking, if Costa is unsettled at Chelsea how will he end up staying at Stamford Bridge for another season? The simple answer is history. Yes, history suggests us that the West London side have been in a similar predicament before and have still come out of it victorious.
Indeed, it looked like Costa could have been on his way out of Chelsea in the winter transfer window after an alleged training ground bust up with manager Antonio Conte. Widespread reports had linked a host of clubs with him back then, but nothing came out of it in the end, Costa continued as Chelsea’s first choice striker.
The latest reports have a similar sense of Deja Vu to them, as they state that Costa isn’t happy at Stamford Bridge. However, it could all turn out to be a hogwash in the end with nothing much to come out of it in the end.
There have even been suggestions that a new contract could soon be tabled for Costa, and if that were to be the case, it will be interesting to see if Costa is fully committed to Chelsea. So, a Chelsea stay could yet be on the cards for Costa provided both parties are indeed happy with each other unlike what is being reported.