Diego Costa has confirmed he expects to be donning the blue of Chelsea next season, a team he has described as “one of the greatest in the world.”
The striker enjoyed a sensational campaign with Atletico Madrid in 2013-14, firing the Rojiblancos to the Spanish title and the Champions League final. But the Premier League and Stamford Bridge now await the Spanish international, who confirmed he is looking forward to playing for Chelsea and in England's top flight, per Duncan Castles of Goal.com:
Why would I have chosen to play for Chelsea? It is a thing that is about to happen. Things are going in a direction and, if they keep going as they are going, it is the team I will play for in the next season.
I've wanted to play in the Premier League for a while. Chelsea are one of the greatest clubs of the world so there are many factors that make you take a decision like this.
With Costa confirming the move, the Chelsea faithful can begin to get excited about watching the capricious centre-forward leading their line next season. The 25-year-old scored 27 goals in 35 La Liga appearances last season, as well as eight in nine Champions League games, per WhoScored.com.
Here are some of the best of them:
But Costa is a player whose game is about much more than goals; in many respects, he is the ideal centre-forward for a Jose Mourinho team. He's unshakeably energetic, unashamedly physical and never one to shirk a challenge. At first glance, his game looks absolutely tailor made for the robust requirements of the English game.
Nevertheless, the Spanish international insists there could be a period of adaptation, telling Castles in the aforementioned piece that he "will have to work a lot to fit in with the style of the Premier League."
The 25-year-old is currently in Brazil at the World Cup, where he’s being roundly booed by the supporters after opting to play for Spain in the tournament despite being born in the host nation. But it’s a reaction he’s used to, and something his style of play encourages. In short, he’s a major wind-up merchant to players and supporters alike.
Expect him to be loved by the Chelsea faithful, but not so popular with the rest of the Premier League. Bleacher Report’s Vince Siu is already dreading a Chelsea-Costa combination next season:
Perhaps Sid Lowe put it best in his piece for The Guardian last year, which claimed that if Costa took his work home he would “goad the dog with a stick, surreptitiously elbow his wife out of the way on the stairs, shrug his shoulders innocently as she lay in a crumpled heap at the bottom and whisper insults to his children, look the other way and whistle when they burst into tears.”
He’s the type of player you would love on your team but would hate to be playing against, as Arsenal supporter Piers Morgan begrudgingly notes here:
But underpinning all the bravado is a fantastic striker who is still learning, still improving and harbouring a real hunger to prove himself at the pinnacle of the game. For Mourinho, he’s absolutely perfect.
In his time as a manager, the Portuguese has always sought to have a target-man-type centre-forward, with players such as Didier Drogba and Diego Milito excelling under his tutelage. Chelsea’s dearth of striking options hampered them in their quest for silverware last season, and Mourinho has obviously isolated Costa as the man to spearhead his title charge next season.
With Cesc Fabregas also on board for next season—not to mention the return of Costa’s one-time Atletico teammate Thibaut Courtois—the Chelsea challenge already looks set to be a formidable one. Courtois will bring a composed presence to the defence for one so young, while Fabregas will add his mercurial ingenuity to the midfield.
But Costa can bring the goals to lead this title tilt, and he can also be the link man who gets the best from the likes of Fabgreas, Oscar and Eden Hazard. Perhaps most excitingly of all, he’ll bring a wonderfully raw and persistently effervescent personality to the Premier League.