After scoring 20 Premier League goals last season many thought the Costa would have another great season in the English top flight.
Costa scored crucial goals for Chelsea last season and often provided that bit of quality in tight games to decide them in the favour of Conte’s men. The goalless draw at home to Arsenal, in particular, was a game that was crying out for a bit of muscle to bully the Arsenal defence and create an opportunity. His goals and presence, unsurprisingly, made Chelsea champions.
Instead, he forced a move away back to former club Atletico Madrid, the club he left three years previous to link up with the Blues. As a replacement, Conte signed Álvaro Morata in the summer for £58 million which many fans questioned having Costa still at the club but that made it more clear that Costa wasn’t in Italians plans and he eventually refused to turn up to training.
Morata has helped Chelsea to demolitions of Qarabag and Stoke, 6-0 and 4-0 respectively but there is no doubt he is a very different kind of forward to Costa. One that could not prevent Chelsea failing to score at home for the first time under Conte last week.
Now, the departure of Costa could well open the door for two further departures at Stamford Bridge come January.
There was plenty of speculation during the summer linking winger Willian with a reunion with old boss Jose Mourinho at Manchester United. Jose has already signed one of Chelsea players this summer and that was Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matić, so it wasn’t a surprise that Mourinho also wanted to add a player like Willian, the sole bright spark in Chelsea’s disastrous collapse and someone who is known for his skill as well as being a set piece expert.
The deal did seem plausible with doubts over his ability to displace Eden Hazard and Pedro for a place in Conte’s starting XI. Last season, he started just 15 of his 34 Premier League appearances.
With the added games Europe brings, Willian may well be handed more starts but should this not materialise, then don’t expect a player of his quality to sit around and quietly accept a place on Chelsea’s bench.
Michy Batshuayi must have been disappointed when the door opened up by Costa’s exile quickly slammed shut again with the arrival of Morata. His path into the first team was blighted by Costa’s excellent form last season and it could well be the same story this season, only with Morata this time.
He made 20 appearances last season in the Premier League but 19 of them were from the bench, many for just a few minutes, depriving him of time to make an impact, therefore he was only able to score five during the whole campaign.
This leads many to believe he has the talent for this level but with Morata’s hat-trick away at Stoke, his fourth, fifth and sixth Premier League goals of the season. It is going to be exceedingly difficult for the Belgian to force his way into the starting XI.
With Costa’s departure now confirmed, Chelsea may look again to strengthen in January, a move which almost certainly would spell the end of Batshuayi’s time at Stamford Bridge.