“Antonio Conte sent me a text message saying he doesn’t need me anymore”. These, in a nutshell, are the words that conclude Diego Costa’s career at Chelsea. But nothing definitely positive is bound to happen.
In his time in Blue, Costa won two Premier League titles. The best number 9 Stamford Bridge has seen since Didier Drogba. A true warrior, albeit too much at times, that the fans have loved. Able to score essentially once every two games – 58 goals in 120 matches.
Costa is a big name, a top striker. He isn’t easy to replace. And we’re sure Conte knows this. However, the coach has opted to change up front, and Costa is on his way out. A gamble, to an extent. It is by no means sure that who comes in instead of him (maybe Alvaro Morata?) can do as well as the Brazilian-Spaniard.
The club might also lose from an economic point of view, as the words of Costa essentially make his price fall. The player now wants to leave, and to force him to stay would be economic suicide. The likes of Ac Milan or Atletico Madrid are ready to welcome him, and would be spending substantially less than if he hadn’t spoken.
Not the nicest of moves by Costa, who clearly wants a change. But also for him, leaving Stamford Bridge might not lead to more success. Going to Milan would mean no Champions League football for a start, so no chance of trying to win the major competition he lacks in Europa, after a Liga title and two Premier Leagues.
Returning to Atletico would mean he would go back to the team he played the 2014 final with, ready to give it another go. But Diego Simeone’s men don’t seem the same as a couple years back, and the club has a transfer ban until January.
There could be better or worse options still, of course. But Costa has fitted perfectly in the current Chelsea mechanisms and in the mentality of the club and to move would mean adapting to something new: not necessarily a success. Staying in Blue would have meant a go at playing the Champions League in a club where he’s been at his best.
Diego Costa has been a big part of Chelsea’s recent successes, and for both sides to end it on this note is simply inconvenient on every level: technically, economically, sentimentally. The future could hold a better option for everybody, but also risks.