The ugly situation with Costa and Chelsea continues to rumble on.
Diego Costa has been fined two weeks wages (approx £300,000) for failing to return for Chelsea’s pre-season preparations, according to Sky Sports. The Spanish international was an integral part of Chelsea’s title winning squad last season, plundering 20 goals over the campaign. Manager, Antonio Conte, has deemed the player surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge this season however. International compatriot, Alvaro Morata has been brought in as a direct replacement earlier in the summer.
In an explosive interview with The Daily Mail, Costa detailed the breakdown in his relationship with Conte and his desire to leave Stamford Bridge and rejoin Athletico Madrid. Unsurprisingly, given his character and style of play, Costa has dug his heels in, in his row with the club. He has threatened to see out the final year of his contract at Chelsea while staying in Brazil for the next 12 months. Costa would then be eligible to leave the club on a free transfer. He said:
“If I have to I will stay in Brazil. I am open to being a year in Brazil without playing, even if Chelsea fine me for a year and don’t pay me. I’ll come back stronger. If I was in the wrong, I’d go back now and do as they say.”
Another issue blocking Costa’s exit seems to be the £50 million valuation Chelsea have on the striker. Given the exorbitant fees that have been paid out so far this summer, £50 million for a striker of Costa’s quality seems a fair price. However, whether it’s the baggage that may come with Costa or the fact he has no pre-season under his belt, no club has been willing to stump up the fee so far. There have also been reports from within the club airing concerns that Costa has been deliberately putting on weight in order to lower their valuation.
While Costa may be something of a loose cannon, he is still a force to be reckoned with. The Brazil native has spearheaded the Chelsea attack during their last two Premier League title wins, scoring 20 league goals in both campaigns. He may be a difficult character to manage, but a striker of his unusual, brash abilities is surely worth the £50 million Chelsea are looking for, in this current climate. If he does run down his contract, he will be a highly coveted free agent in 2018. One would think Roman Abramovich would not like to see such a prized commodity walk for nothing though.
Noel Ryan, Pundit Arena