Silly season is here and there will be rumors of all shades and types up till the end of August relating to Chelsea. We all known that we are in the market for a striker or two this window and if some of the tabloids are to be believed we have been hot on the heels of the Atletico striker Diego Costa. Some say we have already agreed a deal with the administrators of Atleti and from some speculations the only thing holding this deal from being a fait accompli is reportedly second thoughts from Costa himself.
As some will remember i am one of those who is a big fan of this guy and there is no point rehearsing what commends him to us. The major pros and cons regarding Costa have been discussed ad nauseaum however in the last month a new wrinkle has emerged that we would be wise to take note of. For those who have not been paying attention in the last month Costa has suffered three distinct hamstring injuries. These are not tiny, minor niggling injuries..these are muscle injuries involving the group of back muscles of the leg that are critical to the livelihood of a striker. This is a major deal. Each time this guy has got injured he has been rushed back too fast essentially because Atleti have so little depth and have been so dependent on him for goal scoring. In order to try and get him available for the final showdown against Barca at camp nou they rushed the guy back too fast and he got injured again withing 20 minutes. If they had any sense they should have learnt from that..the player himself is so competitive he does not know better. Any sports medicine specialist worth his salt should have shut him down after that but he tried ‘horse placenta’ and other desperate measures to actually try and play in the champions league final. Rather than Atleti doing what was best for the player they allowed that misadventure again and the result was worse. He didnt even last 15 minutes this time and he has now reportedly injured a new set of hamstring muscles in the same leg.
You want an idea of how serious this stuff can be? this is what essentially derailed Leo Messi’s season this year and why Martino eventually decided to shut the guy down entirely for over 1mth despite all the prostestations from Messi himself. Anyone who has seen Messi play since his return however knows that the guy is simply not the same. As bad as this story is thus far though it gets worse for Costa because despite these 3 distinct hamstring injuries within the last month or so he is now reportedly been put under the gun again this time by Vincente Del Bosque to prove his fitness to be included in the La Roja final squad for Rio at the World Cup. Costa is a fierce competitor and left to him he would rather die than miss out on the world cup for la Roja.
Atleti have shown that they are not clear headed enough to do the best thing for the player when their interests conflict and it is obvious that La Roja having no inform center forward other than Costa with fernando LLorente being the closest thing besides Costa so Del Bosque will really like to have him in Rio. He is under pressure from Del Bosque and from himself to get fit for Rio when the best thing for him from a health perspective is to rest himself entirely for at least a month. If as i expect Costa manages to ‘pass’ the fitness test and features for La Roja at the world cup this script will have a deja vu type feel to it. Those who dont know of what i speak should go review what happened with El Nino in 2010.
It is true that Costa is not as dependent on speed for his ability as a striker as El Nino was but let us not fool ourselves here..if Costa goes to the world cup and plays for La Roja..with the frequency and intensity of games, the humidity and heat in Brazil this is a perfect recipe for disaster. Beyond the fact that should Costa suit up for La Roja in Brazil he wil be the most hated player in the entire world cup for rejecting his home country to play for a real rival of the Selecao, he will almost certainly aggravate his hamstring problems and may actually add on some significant extra damage.
For me the more i contemplate this the more that the less flamboyant yet functional choices out there like Wilfred Bony, Mario Mandzukic are starting to appeal far more. I would also add to this other potentially available options like Alexis Sanchez and even maybe Chicarito as other options to add to Lukaku and El Nino who it seems inevitably will see out his entire contract with us as it appears we cant fool anyone to pay any half decent amount to get him moved.
The VC community’s views on this are welcome..for me though, the Costa project has become far more fraught with danger and considering the stakes and expense we are contempating spending on him i no longer feel it is a wise investment. We simply cannot afford another debacle that even approaches the mess we made with the El Nino signing. The floor is yours..have your say.