According to Diego Costa’s mates, who have been straight down to The Sun HQ with their inside info, the anger-management frontman is unhappy at Chelsea and is hankering for a return to Atletico Madrid.
An inability to settle in the English capital is the alleged reason behind the Brazilian-born striker’s contempt at life with the Premier League champions, but despite the ‘close-to-the-source’ nature of these reports the odds moguls at bwin.com remain unperturbed.
They go 1/4 Costa is still a Blues brother when the transfer window closes on September 3rd, while it’s 4/1 he’s enthralling the Vicente Calderon frequenters once more by the same date, whereas 6/1 says he’ll be playing anywhere else.
Such figures indicate the chances of a move for the £32m man is highly unlikely after a successful maiden campaign in the Premier League, but if the striker has taken umbrage with the London lifestyle – tube delays, £5-a-pint, too many vintage clothes shops – returning him to sender would be a sensible solution.
Costa’s tempestuousness made him the focal point of the infamous ‘Campaign Against Chelsea’.
When his star striker committed violent acts that, had they occurred on the street would probably result in prosecution, against Liverpool in the Capital One Cup semi-final and received the relatively lenient punishment of a three-match ban, Jose Mourinho’s ridiculous lamentations that the FA was conspiring against his side were ramped up no end.
While these claims were complete nonsense, selling Costa, a man whose temper resembles that of a wasp who has just had his nest prodded, would alleviate some of the extra attention referees are forced to pay him to ensure the safety of everyone inside any particular stadia the Spaniard has graced.
But compared to injury-proneness, bans are no problem at all.
Costa’s hamstrings have the consistency of Cheese Strings and have to be managed constantly.
This often results in him being absent for key fixtures, rested for midweek games and substituted earlier than what would be considered ideal.
As he gets older, he’s only going to be more of a burden on the medical team so sell now while his value is at its highest.
Chelsea’s brilliance in the transfer market means they’ll make a monster profit if they do sell up.
Having pocketed a combined £132m on David Luiz, Juan Mata, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne – four players who they didn’t even want – imagine how much they could sell a league-winning striker who notched 21 goals last term for.
Elite attackers such as Mauro Icardi, Christian Benteke and Radamel Falcao are all rumoured to feature on Mourinho’s summer shortlist.
None will come cheap, nor will they be happy playing an ancillary role, so any potential purchase may well hinge on the sale of Costa.