One game back, one goal for Diego Costa upon returning to his old stomping grounds at Atletico Madrid. The Chelsea spurned forward returned “home” on a permanent transfer the minute the January window opened and he wasted no time contributing to his club. Costa entered the game as a second half sub with Atletico winning 2-0 and within five minutes he added a goal to their tally over Lleida in the Copy del Rey round of 16.
His falling out with manager Antonio Conte was well documented and while his Chelsea career was an overall success it could’ve been so much more. In his three years at Stamford Bridge he helped the Blues win 2 Premier League titles and 1 League cup. In his 120 apps for the club he scored 59 goals which is the top performer in each of those seasons for Chelsea. I will look back at Costa’s time with Chelsea fondly as I recognize that in those two championship seasons he was absolutely critical to those results. I will also look back and remember the season in between which got Jose Mourinho fired where he was a wreck and came into the season overweight.
Costa’s biggest strength is also his Achilles heel; his fury was his blessing but it was also his curse. He played with a passion and intensity that literally willed Chelsea to victories on his back but it also threw him off tilt arguing with officials, getting red cards and picking fights with defenders. Since Costa’s benching this Fall, they’ve signed Alvaro Morata who hasn’t quite done the job of filling his shoes. Morata started off hot but recently has come up short in big games, lacking that spotlight that Costa thrived under.
As if this season wasn’t frustrating enough, Chelsea has gone and nearly pushed me to the brink. Today they announced the £15 million signing of Ross Barkley whom they were pushing for over the summer but Barkley turned down the move. Here we are around six months later and Barkley not playing a lick for Everton (zero appearances) has now he’s changed his tune.
Barkley, 24 years old, is the epitome of the English player of this generation; big potential and little production. He’s an attacking midfielder (something we do lack) but if he’s not cutting it at Everton I don’t see how he’s all of a sudden going to explode with Chelsea. Last season he recorded 6 goals in 39 appearances in all competitions. The year prior 12 goals in 48 with 8 of those coming in the Premier League.
He’s been at Everton his entire career since 2000 but now he steps into one of the world’s elite clubs, one that must face Barcelona in the next round of the Champions League. We’ll see how he handles the pressure and we’ll see if he’s the complete player Antonio Conte hails him to be. To make matters a little bit more awkward he decided to wear the #8 shirt which of course belongs to club legend Frank Lampard who just retired not long ago. It almost feels too soon to be wearing the #8 again and especially with someone of Barkley’s caliber. If this were someone in the world’s elite that’s a different story.
- Apparently £150 million and Gareth Bale for Harry Kane. Yeah, Ok. Sure….
- Multiple Premier League teams inexplicably want Nicolas Gaitan
- Jose Mourinho is keen on bringing in Danny Rose from Tottenham and winger Lucas from PSG
- Chelsea are once again to go chase Juvenetus full-back Alex Sandro
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is once again linked to the PL, this time with Arsenal should Alexis be sold
- Leon Goretzka of FC Schalke is all but a lock to move to Bayern Munich this summer according to some
- Wesley Sneijder is one step closer to retirement looking to join the LA Galaxy of the MLS
- Cedric Bakambu, striker of Villarreal, is on the verge of completing a €40 million move to China