Chelsea Costa summer deal closer as striker eyes return to former club
Four goals in two Premier League games suggest that Samuel Eto’o may be finding his feet at last and his record of six top-flight goals this season in 12 Chelsea appearances is not to be sniffed at.
Chelsea’s odds are 13/5 to win the Premier League after Eto’o helped down Manchester United, while it is 1/1 that Jose Mourinho celebrates a major trophy of any type in his first season back at the club.
The six league goals from Eto’o have also arrived from just eight starts and three instances that he has completed the 90 minutes. But, he has spoken about returning to one of his former clubs in the summer.
Eto’o only signed a 12-month deal at Stamford Bridge, but with talks that Chelsea are to offer the likes of Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and John Terry one-year extensions, the same could be on the table for the striker.
However, Eto’o has spoken about his desire to return to Real Mallorca, where he spent five successful years in becoming their highest ever La Liga scorer with 54 goals and helping them win a Copa del Rey, before being signed by Barcelona.
With Chelsea struggling for a regular source of goals from among their collection of strikers, Jose Mourinho may be reluctant to let Eto’o depart if this is the start of a streak of form.
But what allowing Eto’o to leave would achieve is the creation of a squad space for Diego Costa, who seems Mourinho’s number one summer striking target.
Costa’s 19 goals in 20 appearances are a leading factor as to why Atletico Madrid currently sit top of La Liga, but in some ways it is his efforts without the ball that make him so sought after.
Not only is Costa a willing runner with almost unrelenting amounts of stamina, but he is physical, powerful and particularly adept at winning free-kicks.
He is not overly dissimilar to Didier Drogba, who served Mourinho so well previously, although his style is arguably slightly more in line with Luis Suarez, given his enthusiasm for tackling and hunting back possession.
Numerous times in recent seasons, Atletico have sold their top strikers and somehow found one that has almost been more effective for lesser amounts.
Costa has replaced Radamel Falcao, Falcao came in for Sergio Aguero, who in turn was bought when Fernando Torres joined Liverpool.
Therefore, even though Costa’s attributes are perfect for Atletico’s counter-attacking, lack-of-possession style, the club’s scouting system can be relied upon to dig out another world-class option as a replacement.
This doesn’t mean that Chelsea will find it a cakewalk to sign Costa, as it is likely to take a mammoth bid to tempt Atletico to sell, especially if he has a World Cup to remember with Spain. Costa is 25/1 to be the World Cup’s top scorer.
One ace Chelsea do have up their sleeve is Thaibaut Courtois, who is the best goalkeeper in the under-21 category in world football.
Courtois has been a major part of Atletico’s advancement to title challengers in his loan spells at the club and it is undoubtedly a deal they would love to make permanent.
It may take including Courtois in a permanent deal if Chelsea are that serious about Costa.