Chelsea are lining up a big-money move for Spanish Euro 2016 star Alvaro Morata.
The 23 year-old has recently re-signed for Real Madrid from Juventus, but appears to be immediately on his way out of the Santiago Bernabeu once again.
Amid the speculation of Stamford Bridge arrivals, however, there has also been rumours that one of the Blues’ biggest names, Morata’s fellow Spaniard Diego Costa, could be headed in the opposite direction, with his former side, Real’s city rivals Atletico, the most likely destination.
Following the news that John Terry has signed a new one-year deal to stay on at Chelsea, the departure of Costa could now be the one that the Stamford Bridge faithful fear most .
Costa has been a Chelsea fan-favourite since Jose Mourinho brought him to London in 2014, and his 20 league goals that season helped fire the 53-year-old’s side to a third Premier League title under his charge.
His passion, fight and desire, which perhaps earned him yet more respect from the Chelsea fans throughout last season, were traits that seemed few and far between amongst a squad that now holds the dubious title of ‘worst Premier League Champions in history’.
It’s drive like this that new incoming Blues boss Antonio Conte will need to feel the full force of if his first season in England is to be a success.
When asked about his attitude towards losing, Conte said; “I consider defeat to be a state of virtual death”, and it’s clear that Diego Costa feels the same.
The feisty forward has 32 goals in 54 appearances at Chelsea, and boasted the best goals per minute ratio of any Chelsea player with more than two league goals last season.
Italian Conte won three consecutive Serie A titles with Juventus deploying a 3-5- 2 formation. If repeated at Chelsea, it would certainly require recruitment, as the extra spot up top is unlikely to be filled by Loic Remy, with Alexandre Pato and Radamel Falcao both on their way out.
Morata, who may well be drawn to London by the chance to work with several Spanish teammates once again, had 12 combined goals and assists in 21 starts playing in a strike partnership last season; one every 1.75 games.
The combination of Costa’s physicality and Morata’s ability with the ball at his feet could prove a daunting one for any side, especially if the latest in a long line of Chelsea managers under Roman Abramovich can get the dressing room to buy into his ethos.
Chelsea managers have famously failed to get the backing of the players in recent years, most recently Jose Mourinho, who reportedly feel out with numerous key players.
However, if the Italian can refine his team quickly enough, and build the side of “warriors” he so desires, a partnership of Costa and Morata, supported by Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazard and last season’s Player of the Year Willian, could well have Chelsea back and challenging for titles once again.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.