Is Atletico Madrid Striker Diego Costa the Right Transfer Move for Chelsea?

Garry Hayes@@garryhayesFeatured ColumnistOctober 23, 2013

MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 24:  Diego Costa of Atletico de Madrid celebrates after scoring his 2nd goal during the La Liga match between Atletico de Madrid and Osasuna at Vicente Calderon Stadium on September 24, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

There's a trend emerging here. Play for Atletico Madrid, score some goals and Chelsea will eventually come calling.

The Blues signed Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink from Los Colchoneros in 2000 and since that time have been linked, in one capacity or another, with former Atletico front men Sergio Aguero and Falcao.

In January 2011 they bought Atletico legend Fernando Torres for £50 million from Liverpool and now The Mirror is reporting Diego Costa is on Chelsea's radar.

It's not difficult to see why, either.

The 25-year-old has been a key part of Diego Simeone's frontline since the Argentine coach arrived at the Vicente Calderon in 2011. And while he has been more than aware of his talents, it seems the rest of Europe is finally waking up to them.

"When I saw him training I wanted to die," Simeone was quoted recently by BBC Sport's Tim Vickery, discussing Diego Costa's ability.

"Diego Costa transmits a strength which has a contagious effect on the rest of the group. He gives everything, but he has to learn to control himself. People say he plays at the limit—curiously, they also said that about me."

If his manager's endorsement is anything to go by, that alone should persuade Jose Mourinho where he should be spending Roman Abramovich's roubles the next time Chelsea's owner prepares to open his cheque book.

Giving everything, unrelenting, playing to the limit—they're all qualities Mourinho's teams have traditionally been built upon, yet Diego Costa brings a lot more to the table.

Last season, playing alongside Colombian frontman Falcao, he found the back of the net 20 times in all competitions, adding eight assists to his goal tally.

That form saw Atletico come close to breaking the Real Madrid-Barcelona monopoly that has long existed in Spain, although this season he seems to be going one better.

Atletico currently sit second in La Liga. Their lead may only be two points over city rivals Real, but as Carlo Ancelotti’s side struggle to rediscover their best form, Simeone’s Atletico are rightly winning the plaudits with Diego Costa very much the stand-out performer.

It’s a similar story in the Champions League as Atletico top Group G following victory over Austria Vienna this week, continuing their 100 per cent record in the competition. Diego Costa scored a brace in that match.

That performance on Tuesday evening showed the Brazilian-born striker isn’t allowing issues away from the pitch to impact his state of mind, either.

/Getty Images

Diego Costa is embroiled in a game of tug of war right now as his adopted country Spain battles with Brazil for his services. The 25-year-old appeared twice for Luis Felipe Scolari’s side earlier this year in friendlies against Italy and Russia, but with those fixtures not officially recognized by FIFA as determining his international destiny, Vicente del Bosque is pulling out all the stops to get him in his World Cup squad.

The Atletico man qualifies for Spain under residency grounds, taking up Spanish citizenship this summer. And given the wealth of talent del Bosque has at his disposal, it speaks volumes for Diego Costa’s ability that he is now being so eagerly pursued.

Back at Stamford Bridge it’s a different story. Chelsea may have a wealth of talent throughout their midfield, but other than Fernando Torres, they lack a truly world-class striker who will remain beyond this season.

Samuel Eto’o, now 32, is on a one-year deal and is still to show he is capable of repeating the form that once ranked him among the world’s best having arrived this summer from Anzhi Makhachkala. Demba Ba, meanwhile, despite his endeavour, is not going to win Chelsea titles.

A man of Diego Costa’s ability just might and given what is available elsewhere, Mourinho will be wise to invite this Brazilian/Spaniard—delete where applicable—into his squad.

Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @garryhayes


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