Jose Mourinho believes his Chelsea team now possess both the quality and the mentality required to win the Premier League, citing the arrival of Spanish striker Diego Costa as one of the main reasons behind their improvement.
The Special One – whose side are 7/4 favourites to hoist a fourth domestic crown this term – went so far as to state the Brazilian-born line-leader is better than Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, a fellow former Atletico Madrid frontman, telling the Sunday Mirror:
“He (Costa) went to Atletico and Sergio Aguero was the superstar, so Diego went on loan. Then, they brought in Radamel Falcao – and Diego went out on loan.
“When the chance came to go back, he showed he was better than the previous ones.”
Such a strong statement will do little to alleviate any of the pressure Costa may be feeling to succeed after his mega bucks move to Stamford Bridge, but Mourinho may well be right, or at least with regards to the Argentine.
Last season was, without question, the finest of the new Blue’s career to date.
He notched 27 league goals in guiding Los Colchoneros to the La Liga title in 34 starts, a total that predecessor Aguero never came close to matching during his five-season stay at the Vicente Calderon.
In three years in English football Kun has never managed a haul as bulky as the one his Chelsea counterpart closed the previous campaign with either, yet the Citizens paid £38m for his services, as opposed to the £32m Costa cost.
Detractors will be quick to point out that the latter has enjoyed just one season of goalscoring par excellence and is by no means guaranteed to repeat his 2013/14 heroics in the Premier League.
It’s important to note that Atleti didn’t deploy him as a central striker until last season, pitching him in from the wing (when they opted to start him at all) the campaign before in which Radamel Falcao led the line.
This didn’t stop him notching into double figures though, while few can question his ratio when he fired ten in just 15 starts on loan at Rayo Vallecano in 2011/12.
Should he produce a similar strike rate to these in a team that’s immeasurably more creative, a 20-goal league season is guaranteed, which is more than can be said for Aguero.
The Man City man has only broke through the aforementioned barrier twice in his career, which certainly adds strength to any argument Mourinho would make regarding Costa’s superiority.
A price of 51/50 says he’ll register over 17.5 in the league next term; a feat he’s very much worth backing to achieve.