The worst kept secret this season has been Jose Mourinho and Chelsea’s pursuit of Atletico Madrid’s star striker Diego Costa. Reports have linked the Brazilian-born forward to the London club since before the January transfer window.
The main reason Costa hasn’t moved sooner is because his loss would have been catastrophic to Atletico Madrid’s current season. The Rojiblancos are currently leading La Liga with five matches to play and have advanced to the semi-finals of the Champions League for the first time in more than 40 years.
Selling Costa in January, with no suitable replacement lined up, would have severely damaged the club’s chances of flourishing in both the league and Europe.
As the season winds down and the summer transfer window draws closer, reports out of Spain and England are hitting a fever pitch. The latest report from the Daily Telegraph states that Chelsea will secure Diego Costa from Atletico Madrid in a deal worth a staggering £80 million.
Matt Law of the Telegraph reports that Chelsea are prepared to meet Costa’s £32 million release clause and will offer the 25-year-old a weekly wage of £185,000. That salary will put the Spanish international striker on a par with the Chelsea’s highest earner, Eden Hazard. Over the course of a five-year contract, Costa is reportedly to earn just over £48 million, which would take the cost of the transfer to £80 million.
Why such a staggering amount of money for a player who has only had two solid seasons on the La Liga stage?
First (and most obvious), Jose Mourinho is desperate to sign a quality striker since his club has had little production from the position this season.
Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba have combined to score sixteen Premier League goals this season. Chelsea has had to rely on the attacking qualities in its midfield since their strikers have gone missing; Eden Hazard, Oscar and Willian have combined to score 25 BPL goals.
Diego Costa currently has 26 goals in 31 La Liga matches; while also scoring seven goals in six Champions League appearances this season. So on statistics alone, Costa is exactly what Jose Mourinho has been looking for.
Another reason for Chelsea’s pursuit of the Atletico Madrid’s striker, Costa is the type of player who will inspire Chelsea teammates.
For those who haven’t seen the 25-year-old striker play, he has been the driving force on the pitch behind Atletico Madrid’s sensational season; much in the way Luis Suarez has been the catalyst for Liverpool’s success this year.
Costa’s style isn’t stylishly pleasing, but he is an engine on the football pitch. Much like Suarez, Costa is constantly putting pressure on the opposition’s back four with his bullish runs. And the Brazilian-born striker doesn’t just wait for service from his teammates. Costa can get on the ball, take on defenders and create space with the best forwards in the world.
There are times when Costa will literally run through defenders in order to score goals.
This past weekend in Atletico’s derby against Getafe, Costa found a new challenge…running through the goal post. What followed was the Atleti’s second goal of the match and a gaping wound to Costa’s shin. He was quickly stretchered off the pitch and the fear was the club would lose their leader for an extended period of time. And with a Champions League semi-final against Chelsea on the horizon, Atletico Madrid could ill-afford to lose their number one striker.