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Should Diego Costa's Spain Performances Be A Concern For Chelsea?
Footytubeblog (Blog) 2 years ago
his World Cup isn’t the right time to draw conclusions on Diego Costa. The soon-to-be-Chelsea striker had a forgettable tournament, struggling with the injury that saw him tally about 25 minutes over Atletico Madrid’s two most important games of last season against Barcelona and Real Madrid. He should simply be a subplot, and notably a minor one, to Spain’s collapse on the international stage.

If there are to be concerns over Costa’s form ahead of a switch to Chelsea, it should be in his scoring drought in the second half of last season, a drought which lasted seven games in January. If there is to be any great concern, it should be that this is a striker who at times needed a handful of opportunities before converting. His record from the penalty spot isn’t consistent either.

Those are the drawbacks. I wouldn’t be worried. Costa is a striker who began this journey to establishing himself as one of the best on the continent around 18 months ago. He’s a late bloomer. There was a time when neither Spain nor Brazil were too interested in his services at international level. There was a time when it would have been unthinkable for Atletico to replace Radamel Falcao with Costa, a striker who had been something of a nomad before Diego Simeone arrived at the Vicente Calderon. The Brazil-born Spanish international had nothing in the way of a reputation to suggest he’d be the player he is today. A lot of his success is down to the coaching and mentoring from Simeone.

What jumped out from Costa’s involvement with Spain in the games against the Netherlands and Chile was just how uncomfortable Spain’s midfield looked with a striker of Costa’s style leading the attack. Put it down to unfamiliarity – none of the players who started those first two group games had played with Costa before. But a lot of it is in trying to convince players like Xavi and Xabi Alonso not to play their natural game. Instead of systematically working towards the opposition goal, patiently moving forward, they had to look up and send Costa through on goal with direct passes. Costa’s fitness and poor form didn’t help, but neither did the clash of styles.

Costa is far more suited to what we expect from Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea next season. It shouldn’t really be a surprise that not every Spanish international can conform to the tiki-taka philosophy with ease; at Chelsea, Costa will be the outlet in a team looking to counterattack.

The World Cup should also not cast doubt about whether Costa was a flash in the pan, an 18-month hot streak that said more about the coach than the player. The mentality of Costa is also important. He’s a battler and a winner on the pitch. He’s got a locker full of devilish tricks. Some may say they’re invaluable to a successful centre-forward.

The doubts that are creeping in about the player should act as a warning to Mourinho and Chelsea that depth at centre-forward next season will be needed, notably with players who are accustomed to the Premier League.

The club may have no choice but to retain Fernando Torres, with the player’s wages a problem for any potential buyer. The bridge looks to be burned between Romelu Lukaku and Mourinho, but the fee brought in from his sale should be reinvested in players who can help to shoulder the burden in attack.

Diego Costa had a miserable World Cup, but he wasn’t the only one. Away from the Spanish national team, he isn’t the only high-profile striker to struggle in Brazil. Sergio Aguero has been poor in all of Argentina’s games thus far.

I wouldn’t sound the alarm just yet at Stamford Bridge. There should be no great fear that the club are about to sign another costly centre-forward flop.

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