Diego Costa will leave Antonio Conte with a huge void to fill if he chooses to leave Chelsea at the end of the season.
The Spaniard has been at his prolific best for large patches of the campaign, registering an impressive 20 goals and six assists in 34 Premier League starts.
Costa – the striker of choice for no less than 93 per cent of the Blues’ total league minutes to date – will be a difficult player to replace should he make his widely expected exit this summer.
Conte has preferred the former Atletico Madrid hitman to his £33 million understudy Michy Batshuayi even during periods when he appeared more interested in brawling with opposition defenders than finding the net.
But for all the faith his manager has maintained in him despite a heated bust-up between the pair during January, it may not be enough to keep Costa in a Chelsea shirt next season.
The 28-year-old has continued to be linked with Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian since they unsuccessfully bid for his services last winter.
It is clear why the rumours have failed to diminish since the prospect of a move first transpired, with wages in excess of £600,000-a-week reportedly on offer.
Oscar – a former Chelsea colleague of Costa’s for two seasons – is one of the most high-profile stars to have been lured to the riches of the Far East in recent times.
The Shanghai SIPG January signing has said he would be thrilled if his old teammate joined him in China, before offering some insight into his experience so far.
"It's hard for me to give specific advice to Costa. The only thing I can tell him is that I quite enjoy my life in China," Oscar told Chinese network CCTV-5, as per Goal.
"I don't have any problems so far. The culture here is obviously very different from that of my country, but we are getting used to it, bit by bit.
"Everyone has got to figure out the things he wants most. And I believe coming to China is the best choice for me.
"If Costa moves here, I will be delighted. He is pursuing happiness and I hope everyone has a happy life."
For what it’s worth, Conte will likely be in the market for another striker this summer regardless of whether Costa remains in west London.
However, his leading goalscorer’s all-important decision will play a hand in determining if he pursues a world-class replacement or a promising back-up.
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