Spanish giants Atletico Madrid, who currently sit handsomely at second place in the La Liga table, are pondering whether or not to trigger the £28 million release clause from Diego Costa’s Chelsea contract.
The 27 year old Spanish striker enjoyed a fine season in his debut year at the club, scoring 20 top flight goals in just 26 games. This saw him become a fan favourite, aiding Chelsea to a first Premier League trophy in five years.
However, this season has been a real binary opposite for the club as well as for their “talisman.” Just four goals in his account so far this term and an unstable camp at Stamford Bridge, has seen growing mounts of speculation linking him with a return to his former employers and the possibility to reunite with Diego Simeone. Costa spent four years at Atletico, netting 36 goals in his breakthrough 2013-14 campaign which saw Jose Mourinho snap him up in a £32 million deal back in 2014.
But why are Atletico currently so shy in front of goal?
A promising transfer window saw Atletico recruit the likes of one of Europe’s most wanted, Jackson Martinez and rising star Luciano Vietto. But, with Martinez yet to hit the ground running with just two goals in 11 appearances accompanied by Vietto’s struggles to break into the starting 11 and just one goal to boast about in a mere six appearances, Antoine Griezmann has had to carry Simeone’s men up the La Liga pecking order. .
Meanwhile, In light of the recent speculation, the potential replacements for the controversial Chelsea forward have emerged. Former Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain has been heavily linked with the blues and has been in exceptional form for Napoli over the last couple of seasons. Higuain has worked with Jose Mourinho before (at Madrid) and the pair have a good working relationship. Saido Berahino’s and Jamie Vardy’s names also remain in the pipeline, but despite their proven abilities to score at the top level they are quite restricted in a one dimensional style of play and have zero European experience. The speculation of Costa’s move emerged from Spanish newspaper “Mundo Deportivo,” and you can’t help but think the move makes sense, especially in a time of need and lack of goals, Simeone can call upon a man he trusts to bring back a spark to the Vincente Calderon.