Revealed: Has Diego Costa really been worse since the Chinese Super League offer?
Diego Costa is regarded as one of Chelsea’s most important
players and remains their leading scorer this season, but stats
from Opta show that his form has taken a dip since his offer
from Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian in
The Spain international ultimately chose to decline the offer
and remain at Chelsea to compete for the Premier League
title and FA Cup glory, but he was offered a staggering
£30 million-per-year contract, which would have almost tripled
his salary and may have proved to be a distraction.
Did his head get turned by the offer? Well, he was subsequently
dropped against Leicester City and contract negotiations with
the club have slowed – it was also then that
he suffered his longest goal drought of the season.
However, he went onto score three goals in three games, but
most were late on in matches with less riding on them, or
against lesser opposition as he looked to get himself back to
his early season form.
He remains key ahead of Chelsea’s final months of the
season and they fought to keep him for a reason, although
the data shows that his form has dipped since the transfer
window, as Romelu Lukaku and Harry Kane have surged ahead
of him in the goalscoring charts.
His goals-per-game has dropped from 0.7 to 0.5 in the league,
while he was registering 0.26 assists per game but has not
now provided a killer pass since before the transfer
saga. His shots-per-game is down slightly as well, while
his conversion rate has gone down to 17.65%
Costa is also creating fewer chances for his team-mates in
recent weeks, as he is only getting 0.3 per game now,
while before 14 January, when the story broke, it was 1.5
chances created per game. He is also winning fewer fouls
since Tianjin’s offer – down from 2.6 per game to
Despite his dip in form, it may be harsh to question his
work-rate as he is actually winning more duels, both in the air
and on the ground. He is also fouling more now, which could
suggest that frustration has crept into his game since his big
money offer, or that he is working hard to improve his
recent form. It could also be a combination of the two.
In person, it is plain to see that Costa’s form has declined
slightly, which is normal over the course of the season, but
the stats show a correlation to his link to
Luckily for Antonio Conte and Chelsea, other players have
stepped up in recent weeks, with the likes of Eden
Hazard putting in all-star performances. Goals have been coming
in from all over, from Gary Cahill and N’Golo Kante to
Marcos Alonso and Pedro.
Whether Chelsea keep Costa or lose him in the summer, with
interest from the Chinese Super League still high, Chelsea
will target signing another forward.
Lukaku, who has become the favourite to win the Premier
League’s golden boot, remains a Chelsea target after they tried
and failed to secure him last summer. Real Madrid’s Alvaro
Morata is another who continues to interest Conte, as well
as a host of younger players including Celtic’s
Moussa Dembele and Ajax’s Kasper Dolberg.
Conte has stated he is “confident” that Costa will stay, while
Costa himself told ESPN Brasil that “everyone [at
Chelsea] is on the same page,” which suggests any problems
between him and the club are on hold during the hunt for
In the meantime, Chelsea could do with the revitalisation of
Costa to compete with their summer target Lukaku in the golden
boot race, with the Everton striker going two ahead of
Chelsea’s frontman in recent weeks.
Costa’s current form isn’t terrible, but it isn’t great, which
is what Chelsea need him to be if they are to earn the
Holy Grail of a league and cup double in Conte’s first season
in charge of the club.