There is a new era at Chelsea and Antonio Conte looks to be the perfect man to lead the revival at Chelsea. They have no European football, which is of course a massive blow for them in the short term and has perhaps complicated their transfer dealings. Conte has com
e out and said that he wants at least five more signings. That number could grow if they lose players, with Nemanja Matic and Diego Costa being linked with moves away. The latter is an interesting case, as many thought he would excel under Conte, but a return to Atletico Madrid could be on the cards.
In his two seasons at the club, Diego Costa has been no stranger to controversy, but his goal record has been good for Chelsea. He was one of the main reasons they managed to win the title in 2014/15 and he has the ability to fire them back into the top four this season. The Spanish international has 32 goals across two seasons, scoring every 139.5 minutes, which is a great record to have in the Premier League.
The striker is now 27 and approaching what should be the peak years of his career. He has built up a lot of momentum and even though last season was underwhelming compared to his previous two campaigns, he is one of the best strikers in the world. His ability to hold up the ball, link up play and score goals makes him perfect for the Premier League. Costa revels in the physicality of the Premier League and his aggressive style makes him a constant threat.
On the other hand, his discipline is an issue and could be enhanced under Antonio Conte, who can be theatrical himself on the touchline. Last season, he received eight yellow cards and he brings a lot of bad publicity to the club with his on-field antics. In March, Diego Costa was sent off against Everton and his reaction to the red card got him an extra game ban. This is the sort of thing that Chelsea need to cut down on, but with Conte who fires his players up, as displayed by his Italy side at Euro 2016. They picked up the most yellow cards of the tournament and if Chelsea become similarly aggressive, Costa could become a liability.
It is easy to see why a move back to Atletico would appeal to Costa, as the Spanish club are one of the top five clubs in the world currently. They have been to two of the last three Champions League finals and compete with Barcelona and Real Madrid in La Liga. Diego Simeone is the manager that brought the best from Costa and the environment at the club brings the best out of players. This is why Filipe Luis went back to the club last summer and Costa could follow him if a significant bid is launched. Atletico are looking to make that final step to win the Champions League and bringing back their former striker would help them do that. A potential partnership between him and Antoine Griezmann could be devastating.
Chelsea have been rumoured to be training in a 4-2-4 formation, a tactic that Conte used a lot during his early career as a manager. After signing Ngolo Kante, who covers the ground of two midfielders, they can afford to play two in central midfield. This will allow them to play two centre forwards at times during the season, therefore it is clear that Costa remains in the manager’s plans. They have signed Michy Batshuayi from Marseille, who is expected to do well in England. However, Costa remains the clubs first choice striker and will be central to how Conte sets up this season.
Unless Atletico submit a bid that Chelsea can’t refuse, they should keep Diego Costa at the club. He is always going to score goals in this division as it suits his style of play and he strikes fear into opposition defences. His discipline is an issue, but it is a result of his style of play and if he is less aggressive, he would also be less effective. A potential partnership with Batshuayi could bring out the best in Costa and the Belgian being on the pitch, will give Costa more space in the final third. Conte is a similar manager to Diego Simeone in terms of how he organises teams and fires his players up. The striker had his best goalscoring season under Simeone and he could be equally as clinical under Conte.