Barcelona will reportedly make a shock summer swoop for Chelsea’s rumbustious striker Diego Costa, as the Catalan giants seek to add some physicality to their forward line.
According to Don Balon (h/t Uche Amako of the Daily Express), Blaugrana manager Luis Enrique wants the 27-year-old due to his ability to “war” with opposition defenders. The Camp Nou club’s embargo on adding new players to the squad is lifted in 2016.
Costa has previously thrived in the Spanish top flight, of course, notching a stream of goals during the 2013-14 season as Atletico Madrid secured a surprise La Liga title. Here’s a reminder of some of the Spanish international’s best moments from that season:
There have been reports suggesting Costa may fancy a move back to Spain. According to Pete Jenson of the MailOnline, the striker still keeps in contact with a lot of his former Atletico Madrid team-mates and would be happy to rejoin his former club should the chance arrive. Barcelona would represent an intriguing option for the 27-year-old, too.
However, it’s a transfer that seems unlikely to materialise. While Costa would definitely add an edge to Barcelona’s attacking forays, his gnarly brand of centre-forward play is more than a few shades removed from the quintessential principles the Blaugrana hold dear.
In addition, Barcelona already boast a gritty player at the point of the attack in Luis Suarez, and as we can see here via WhoScored.com (h/t barcastuff), he’s been tremendous for the European champions:
Chelsea need Costa to stick around anyway. While the forward isn’t quite at the same levels as last season currently, the entire Blues squad seems stuck in a malaise of sorts. Indeed, without a stream of steady service from the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Willian, getting on the scoresheet regularly is a tough ask for the former Atletico man.
Anyway, as noted here by Bleacher Report’s Garry Hayes, Costa adds a lot more to the team than just goals:
Replacing him would be tough for the Blues. Manager Jose Mourinho loves having a behemoth of a forward at the point of the attack, and at his best, Costa sets a tremendous tempo for this Chelsea team. Should he rediscover his goalscoring touch again soon, expect rumours about a possible transfer to eventually abate.
Real Madrid Reportedly Want Jose Mourinho, Eden Hazard
Former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon has claimed that Los Blancos will look to bring Mourinho back to the club for a second spell should Chelsea dismiss him and may attempt to lure Hazard to the Santiago Bernabeu, too.
Speaking with beIN Sports (h/t John Cross of the Daily Mirror), Calderon claimed that current Real chief Florentino Perez even tried to re-recruit Mourinho this summer:
If he is not anymore in Chelsea, I think Perez would be really willing to bring him back to Real Madrid.
He (Perez) was trying to do that this season. He couldn't because Mourinho didn't like to come. He said he didn't like that for various reasons and then Perez went to sign (Joachim) Low, the German that is coaching the national team, then Klopp and finally Benitez.
The truth is that Benitez was the fourth option for Real Madrid. I think Perez is still trying to bring (Mourinho) back here. He really likes him.
There have been reports linking Hazard with a move to the Spanish capital as well recently, per Cross, stories that Calderon suggested there is credence in. “They are looking at him and, as far as I know, he has not said no,” the former president said. “We will wait and see.”
It would be a spectacular appointment from Los Blancos, especially given the manner in which Mourinho left the club previously. The Chelsea boss fell out with club icon Iker Casillas and regularly landed himself in hot water with his behaviour, infamously poking Tito Vilanova in the eye during a clash with Barcelona.
Mourinho is having a tough time at the moment, with his Chelsea side down in 15th place heading into Week 11 of the Premier League. Still, Cross thinks the Portuguese will remain in demand should he get the chop from the Blues:
Still, the Chelsea faithful will be desperate to keep Mourinho and Hazard on board. After all, it was not too long ago that the former was heralded as the finest manager in the league and the latter as the standout player. Despite their poor run, that’s well worth remembering as Chelsea seek to haul themselves out of this predicament.
Mourinho signed a new deal with Chelsea earlier this year and therefore is unlikely to be relieved of his duties any time soon. Anyway, even if he is, given the manner in which he left Los Blancos previously and some of his recent conduct, you suspect Real will be happy to bide their time with current manager Rafa Benitez.