Why Chelsea would be foolish to press on with striker swap deal


With Chelsea spending the festive period 14 positions lower down the Premier League table than they intended to be, it is no surprise that they are dominating the gossip columns in the build-up to the reopening of the transfer window.

But just because Roman Abramovich’s advisors have a lot of ideas at the moment, it doesn’t mean that they are very good ones, with the latest one circulating around Diego Costa being perhaps their worst since the one about not strengthening the starting XI whatsoever after winning the title.

Reports in Spain suggest that the Blues’ leading January target is Atletico Madrid striker Jackson Martinez, and that they are so convinced that he is the solution to their problems that they are willing to send current line-leader Costa back to the Spanish capital as part of the package.

The most obvious risk with such an arrangement is that Martinez has never played in the Premier League before so, as with his already-at-Stamford-Bridge compatriot Radamel Falcao, there is no guarantee that he will adapt.

Consequently, it seems strange to consider ditching a forward who was an instant hit in England and, despite a slight drop in standards this season, has scored 25 times in 38 Chelsea top-flight starts for someone who has yet to prove his quality in Spain.

Since joining Atletico in the summer, Martinez has netted twice in 11 La Liga appearances, and his recent absence from the side coincided with their emergence as co-leaders alongside Barcelona. By contrast, Costa was the star man in his final Calderon campaign, firing 27 times in 34 league starts.

So to conclude, the existing Chelsea employee was more effective at Atletico and has been more successful this term, delivering a goal every three league games to the Colombian’s 5.5. So what is it causing Martinez to appeal – his age? No, he loses on that metric too, being 29 to the Spaniard’s 27.

Costa might be glad of the opportunity to move though, as Atletico are judged more likely to lift the Champions League in 2015/16 at 14/1 than the west Londoners are at 22/1.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £50 in free bets.