Few Chelsea fans would disagree that Diego Costa has been far from his usual deadly self throughout the second half of the season.
The Spaniard began the campaign seemingly more intent on finding the back of the net than stirring up trouble with his opponents – a change in attitude that has seen him make a significant contribution to the Blues’ Premier League title charge.
Costa scored an impressive 17 goals in all competitions for club and country from the opening day of the season until the end of 2016, but his imperious form dropped off in the aftermath of a bust-up with Antonio Conte.
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An unsuccessful approach from Chinese club Tianjin Quanjian saw Costa find the net just once in his first six outings in the new year, leaving many to call for his understudy Michy Batshuayi to be introduced.
However, Conte stuck with the former Atletico Madrid striker despite him failing to overturn his disappointing run to convincing degree.
Counting from his strike against Wolverhampton in the FA Cup on February 18, Costa has since picked up one less yellow card than the number of goals he has scored.
Such a statistic is hardly surprising given the reemergence of his mischievous theatrics of late, but despite still being his boss’ preferred option up front, it does little to suggest Costa is desperate to remain in west London.
In fact, the Telegraph reports the same club who attempted to sign the Chelsea man in January are confident of landing him this summer.
Tianjin – managed by former Italy international Fabio Cannavaro – are reportedly prepared to offer Costa upwards of £25 million a year should the Premier League leaders accept their proposed £76 million offer.
The move would make the 28-year-old the most expensive Chinese Super League signing ever, eclipsing the £71 million Shanghai Shenhua paid for Carlos Tevez in December 2016.
It is unclear whether Costa has other potential options on the table within Europe, but one would think interest from the likes of Paris Saint-Germain or Inter Milan would tempt the Spain international.
If Chelsea are set on bringing another world-class goalscorer to Stamford Bridge this summer, they would surely be open to selling their current first-choice striker – for the right price, that is.
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