There can be little doubting that Chelsea’s league turmoil is jeopardising their ability to hold onto their most important stars. The absence of Champions League football proves a prominent incentive to leave Stamford Bridge.
Diego Costa has proven particularly crucial to the Blues since the arrival of Guus Hiddink. The Spaniard’s goals have ensured the club has at least stopped the rot in the Premier League.
However, while it seems likely that Costa will remain over the summer, poor performances in 2016-17 would practically guarantee his exit. Chelsea need to return to winning ways next season or risk losing one of their most important assets.
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Albeit scattered rumours linking the 27-year-old with a return to Atletico Madrid, there has never been concrete news as regards a potential Costa departure.
Furthermore, his glittering showing under Hiddink makes it clear that he is certainly content with his form in England. Eleven goals since the managerial switch is an impressive return and sees him far and away the club’s top scorer.
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As a result, it seems likely that the Spaniard will grit his teeth and accept the absence of Champions League football in 2016-17. The knowledge of being the star striker will keep the 27-year-old tethered to the club during the summer.
However, if the Blues don’t rediscover their winning form next season, it will become almost inevitable that Costa will depart.
There can be little denying that on his day, the ex-Atletico Madrid man is one of the best striker’s in Europe. Consequently, the idea of more than a year away from European football will far from appeal.
After all, if this club stagnation spilled over into 2016-17, staying at Chelsea would appear to have little benefit to the forward. At 27-years-old, Costa hasn’t got the time to be treading water with a squad heading in no particular direction.
It provides further incentive for the Blues to find their feet again next year as Costa is undoubtedly a true string to the club’s bow.
Unfortunately, the west London side no longer possesses the attracting power to be able to snap up a replacement swiftly. Besides, no forward can match the aggression and hunger of the Spaniard.
In many ways Costa is irreplaceable and few strikers of his stature are likely to be lured to a side lacking Champions League football. It’s a bitter pill to swallow for Blues fans.
As a result, holding onto Costa over the summer should prove little rest bite. Chelsea will need to resurge beyond the transfer window to ensure his departure doesn’t transition from a possibility to inevitability.
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