Football

Jose Mourinho needs to find a replacement for Diego Costa - and fast

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If Jose Mourinho wants to stem the flow of bad results for Chelsea in the Premier League he must replace Diego Costa - and do it soon.

Since February, performances from the Spaniard have fallen off a cliff. The 27-year-old has more yellow cards than goals this season (three Premier League goals, four yellow cards), but more shockingly, he has only scored six since January 17.

To further emphasise his poor form, the feisty forward barely manages to average two shots on goal per game.

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The view that Costa is no longer the man to lead Chelsea's forward line is a popular one. According to the Evening Standard, ex-Arsenal striker Ian Wright said the striker is "the last centre forward Chelsea need."

"I would sell him at the first opportunity I get because, as brilliant as he was in the first season, he is playing differently," said Wright.

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"He seems a little bit more antagonising. The first season he got here he was focusing on scoring goals, being in the box. Now he's outside the box, he's getting involved with people."

Ironically, it isn't Costa's quality that sees the striker being marke more tightly by defenders - the problem is that they seem to have found him out.

Various reports over the summer suggested the Brazilian-born Spaniard might have even been sold back to Atletico Madrid, but due to a lack of suitable replacements, he stayed.

It may seem churlish to heap blame on the striker for Chelsea's faltering season, but the statistics prove he has never been more than a flash in the pan.  

Costa's value is arguably highly skewed because of his time at Madrid, for whom he netted 43 times under the canny management of Argentine Diego Simeone.

Selling the striker may be too early and slightly wayward at this stage, though. Didier Drogba took a couple of seasons to settle when he arrived at Chelsea, and only after a text from Frank Lampard in 2006 did the Ivorian stay and become a Blues legend.

Should Mourinho drop Costa, he already has Loic Remy to fill the void, although only more game time can determine whether the Frenchman could be Chelsea's answer in front of goal.

The Blues are in the market for strikers in January as they look to clamber out of the mess that is seriously threatening their chances of Champions League qualification next year.

Gonzalo Higuain, Javier Hernandez, Antoine Griezmann and Alexandre Lacazette are all being touted as possible signings, but none are regarded as "£250,000-a-week" strikers that Mourinho is said to be looking for and there is much debate as to whether they are even good enough to help save the Portuguese's campaign from disaster.

One thing is for sure, though, and it's that regardless of Costa's goal against Norwich on Saturday, the Spaniard has to improve considerably if he's to prove he's still the main man at Stamford Bridge.

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Topics:
Premier League
Chelsea
Football

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