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Diego Costa’s season has very much mirrored that of his team in that it can be clearly split into two halves. The Spanish international scored just 4 goals in the opening 4 months of the campaign as Chelsea endured a miserable time but has been a resurgent force since netting twice against Watford on Boxing Day.
The Brazil-born striker has always been a controversial figure and it is clear he is not to everyone’s liking and probably never will be. What is abundantly clear though is his importance to Chelsea and when he is on song he is a nightmare for defenders to play against and the Blues become a much greater threat as a result.
Not only does he offer the Blues a physical presence up front and somebody to play off, he also presents a genuine goal threat, the only Chelsea striker who can truly claim that.
Costa’s record speaks for itself in that he scored 20 goals in 26 Premier League appearances last season as Chelsea won the title and 27 goals in La Liga for Atletico the season before as the Madrid club also emerged champions.
It is doubtful either side would have won their leagues without him and even Jose Mourinho, who by all accounts saw his relationship with the forward breakdown over the first half of this season, realised it.
Depending on which camp you are in, Costa’s poor form was either the result of his own lack of commitment to the cause under the Portuguese boss or it was the result of a manager whose ‘special’ qualities completely eluded him during the end of his reign at Stamford Bridge.
The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. If there were bridges to be built with the Chelsea fans and clearly there were, Diego Costa is doing a pretty good job at constructing them.
He has scored 8 goals in his last 10 games including the winner at the Emirates and a dramatic late equaliser against Manchester United to help bring a minor element of respectability to Chelsea’s Premier League campaign.
If Chelsea are going to have a successful end to the season then the striker is almost certainly going to be integral to it. Other striking options revolve around Loic Remy, who has never really looked the real deal in a Chelsea shirt and Alexandre Pato, who has looked a shadow of the player he was at Milan for some time and at best is going to need time to adjust to the English game.
Retaining the Brazilian could become an issue
Should Costa continue in his current form, the question may not be should Chelsea keep Diego Costa but can they hang on to him given their likely absence from European football next term.
The Brazilian has scored 30 goals in 45 Premier League starts and with a record like that any top club in the market for a striker this summer would be foolish not to be interested.
His reputation as a bit of a disruptive figure and hefty salary is likely to put teams off though. With John Terry set to depart this summer, Chelsea might find themselves desperately searching for the spine of a team that is going to make them competitive next year so they would be wise to hold on to Diego Costa and build a team behind him, particularly if they can find a way to attract his former manager Diego Simeone to the club.
Written by Mark Sochon
Follow Mark on Twitter @tikitakagol
Check out his brilliant blog on all things La Liga, Tiki-Taka-Gol!
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