Well, it was fun while it lasted.
That has to be the thought on the mind of every single Chelsea F.C. fan as they’ve watched the Diego Costa saga evolve over the past few weeks. Currently, the pulse of the situation rests somewhere between “Costa is never leaving Chelsea” and “Costa is keen on joining Atletico Madrid.” Basically, as is the case with most transfer rumors, no one really knows anything.
However, another rumor floating through the Chelsea transfer wire surrounds another striker, which does not bode well for Costa’s future at Stamford Bridge. Romelu Lukaku, the Belgian and Everton striker who Jose Mourinho infamously sold for just £28 million, is now rumored to be on the verge of a return to the Blues under new manager Antonio Conte. The fee is rumored to be upwards £70 million, which is a lot of money to pay for someone not to start every single game for his new club.
Of course, this Lukaku purchase comes on the heels of another big striker buy at the Bridge this summer, when Conte swooped in and grabbed Belgian international Michy Batshuayi from Ligue 1 side Olympique Marseilles. Batshuayi himself cost roughly £33 million, which would be a hefty price to pay for a bench player as well, should Chelsea buy Lukaku and retain Costa’s services.
Thus, it’s easy to see the writing on the wall for Costa, should Lukaku’s transfer go through. The specifics of Chelsea’s dealings (such as the inclusion of Loic Remy in the deal) indicate that the move is imminent, thus giving Chelsea the front line of the Belgian national team, and likely leaving Diego out of a job.
However, the question on many Chelsea fans’ minds is why is that such a bad thing?
While Costa’s hot start at Chelsea left many believing he could fill the striker void left by Didier Drogba, his sophomore season in the Premier League was not as fruitful. Costa managed just 16 goals in 41 games for Chelsea this season, and oftentimes seemed more interested in fighting with opposing defenders or referees, than he was in scoring goals.
Temperamental strikers are fantastic when they’re scoring regularly, but if they’re not, it’s hard to find a place for them in the locker room. Costa showed that with Spain in the 2014 World Cup, and was promptly left off the Euro 2016 squad because of it. It might be time for Chelsea to head in the same direction.
Additionally, what makes this easier is how impressive Batshuayi has been in the preseason for Chelsea. While the games are still friendlies, Michy has been very impressive in supplying the type of hold up play that fans watched Drogba produce for years at the Bridge. If Batshuayi can translate his unbelievable strength on the ball to the Premier League season, Chelsea fans are going to be ecstatic with their new signing. At just 22, he has shown skills beyond his years, and Chelsea fans should have no doubts that Conte will be able to push him to his full potential.
The times with Diego Costa at the forefront of the Chelsea attack have been mostly good, but now it is time to move on. Costa has become too much of a distraction for the Blues, without the production to match, and the arrival of Batshuayi coupled with the impending buy of Lukaku gives Chelsea more than enough options up front to replace everyone’s favorite Brazilian turned Spaniard. While Costa gave Chelsea fans plenty of good memories in their most recent title winning campaign, he has outlived his usefulness in the Premier League. It’s time for Chelsea to move on.