22 goals in his first two Premier League campaigns. No, these aren’t the stats of the man whose name is in the headline, these are the stats of Didier Drogba. At that point both fans and the media were calling for Chelsea to sell Drogba, Mourinho stood firm. 10 years on, Drogba is the winner of four Premier League titles, four FA Cups and a Champions League. In 2013, Chelsea fans voted him the club’s greatest player. In under one and a half seasons, Diego Costa has 23 Premier League goals. Should Mourinho sell him too?
There is no doubt that the Spaniard is a hot-head, but the Premier League has always been lit up by players such as Roy Keane and Vinnie Jones who, despite their controversial moments, have always made games more competitive. At times, Costa has gone too far with his aggression, but it has made Chelsea a better team. The fans have thrived on his energy and the players have thrived on the fans energy. Chelsea will not be able to get by with just Loic Remy and Radamel Falcao, they are simply not good enough to lead the line for a top team.
If Costa is sold, Chelsea will have to buy another striker. With Financial Fair Play in place, Chelsea will be unable to afford to buy a striker like Neymar or Robert Lewandowski. Chelsea will struggle to buy a striker with the firepower that Costa possesses. They will certainly not be able to buy a striker with that level of firepower and the same commitment that Costa has. You don’t simply use your talent overnight. It can only be a new striker for Chelsea if they need to replace Costa. We can all play the “Chelsea never give youth players a chance” card, but you can’t simply bring in a teenager at a crucial time for the club and expect them to perform. Undoubtedly the likes of Isaiah Brown and Dominic Solanke have big futures in the game, but neither of them are ready now.
“Toxic.” No, I’m not breaking into a chorus of Britney Spears. That is how Costa has been described in recent reports in the media. Maybe Costa should describe the media as toxic? He’d probably be right. Since when did we listen to the Daily Mail’s views on how we deal with players with a bit of an attitude? Players should not perform acts of petulance on the pitch where it can be picked up by the TV cameras, but is someone throwing a bib really that much of a problem? He didn’t throw a bib at Mourinho to prove a point. It was a rash act by a man simply frustrated by his recent performances and the fact he hadn’t made it onto the pitch. Long term, it meant absolutely nothing.
Every time Costa commits a foul or makes the smallest mistake, it is criticised by the likes of Robbie Savage, who I may add is famous for playing a part in the worst Premier League team of all time. Even during Saturday’s match against Bournemouth, Costa kicked the ball 10 yards against the advertising hoardings after giving away a throw-in. This was followed by the everyday reaction of players surrounding the referee trying to get Costa sent off. Nobody bats an eyelid. Let’s imagine it’s the other way around and Chelsea players are surrounding the referee. There would be stories in the paper about how Chelsea players do this every week and how singlehandedly they are sending football in the wrong direction. Players shouldn’t surround the referee. But we’re not going to stop this behaviour by focusing on one team. Chelsea take the blame because they did it in a big game. I don’t care if it’s Chelsea vs PSG or Welling United vs Grimsby Town, this sort of behaviour needs to be cut out in all divisions of football.
As for Costa, he is the right man to lead the Chelsea front line. A Jose Mourinho side has always included a focal point, whether it be Didier Drogba or Diego Milito. Chelsea will be unable to find anyone better than Diego Costa at this moment in time.