Diego Costa may not be the friendliest man on Earth, but to Chelsea fans, he resembles somebody who is willing to work harder than anybody else to get the win for the team. His somewhat understated work ethic off the ball last season should be reviewed by the many who’ve criticized his goalscoring form. Though the Spanish international did have an underwhelming campaign by his recent standards.
After his arrival from Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2014 for a mere £32 million, it must’ve been a highly impractical and stupid joke to fans when they heard that Chelsea are willing to sell him for a further £8 million, as is being widely reported. The striker had a tremendous campaign the first time of asking, and helped the Blues on to their first Premier League title in five years. Him, along with Eden Hazard, John Terry, and Cesc Fabregas, were the ringleaders that catapulted the club into being named the Champions of England.
To think now, after only a slightly bad season, the West London club would be willing to sell a player who has clearly settled well where many haven’t, especially in the bewitched striker role, would be laughable had it not been such a serious possibility.
Romelu Lukaku has been named as the most likely candidate to become his replacement should he leave, though there are many doubters as to the Belgian’s ability to establish himself as a truly prolific centre-forward. His 18 goals in the league last year is mildly impressive considering Everton finished one place below Chelsea in what was a disappointing campaign for the Merseysiders. His overall style of play, though, speaks an entirely different game to what he puts on paper.
Lukaku’s game is purely physical. He is one of the more gifted players when it comes to athleticism and sheer strength, which has caused him to be known as one of the best in the world in holding up the ball when pinned against the mountainous defenders that play in the Premier League. However, in the box, he’s slightly less casual than many of the game’s top strikers. His shooting was even more dreadful than Diego Costa’s in the said underwhelming campaign that the Spanish international had, as Lukaku finished with a shot conversion rate of just 15%, comparatively lower than Costa’s 18%, even though the latter finished the campaign with fewer goals.
This should speak volumes to the hierarchy at Stamford Bridge because even though the metrics only differ by a miniscule number, games are won and lost by decimal places nowadays. Put simply, shots that go wide by a few centimeters could very well be put in by somebody like Costa, whilst missed by Lukaku.
And all this comparison based on a supposed ‘poor’ season from Costa’s end, while Lukaku bagged his most prolific yet.
Slumps in form happen, but class is a totally different ball game. Chelsea’s pursuit of Romelu Lukaku should be viewed as a downgrade, if it causes the departure of Diego Costa. But in any case, selling a striker who has shown Blues fans the light at the end of the tunnel, after the club haplessly tried to fill the huge void left by Didier Drogba with so many failed acquisitions over the past few seasons, seems premature and downright stupid. The only troubles Costa has caused since his arrival has been to our competition, with his teammates reporting him as a friendly and humorous person off the field. The board should be cherishing a guy who shows so much passion for the game and the club when clearly many in this current team lack it. Not move him on down the fast train back to where he came from.
But, then again, this wouldn’t be the first time the men surrounding the oligarch that is Roman Abramovich force him into making a move that will surely deteriorate the club’s chances at success for the coming season.