Thursday 29 September 2016

Costa given two week deadline by Chelsea before turning their attentions to Atletico striker

Chelsea will give the Brazil-born Spain striker two weeks to prove he can fire the Blues to Champions League qualification

Jack De Menzes

Published 26/11/2015 | 17:17

Chelsea's Diego Costa
Chelsea's Diego Costa

Chelsea will give Diego Costa two weeks to prove he is the striker that can fire them back into the top-four reckoning, otherwise they will launch a January transfer for a new forward.

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Costa was back among the goals when he struck the winner in last weekend’s 1-0 Premier League victory over Stoke, although the Spain international drew a blank as the Blues powered to a 4-0 Champions League win at Maccabi Tel-Aviv on Tuesday.

With Chelsea beginning to show signs of their old self after a disastrous start to the season all but ruled them out of the title race, the club are currently considering any transfer business in January in a bid to strengthen their push for Champions League qualification.

According to The Guardian, one player whose future could be placed in doubt is Costa, with the 27-year-old facing a test over the next two weeks to see if he is still cut out to lead the attack. The striker has been visibly agitated this season, and tensions reached a boiling point in Tel-Aviv this week when he was involved in a touchline row with his manager, Jose Mourinho, before half-time.

Despite the pair making up at the break with “hugs and kisses” as Mourinho put it, Mourinho’s visible frustration at Costa’s lack of movement has led to suggestions that Chelsea will seek a new striker in January. With the gamble to sign Radamel Falcao from Monaco on loan failing miserably, and Loic Remy struggling for form, goals have been hard to come by at Stamford Bridge this season.

The main problem for the Blues though is Mourinho’s acceptance that he does not deserve any new players after admitting their form this season gives him “no right” to give the board any transfer targets. Both Antoine Griezmann of Atletico Madrid and Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuain have been linked with moves recently, but both are unlikely to leave their clubs until the summer at least.

One alternative option being considered is believed to be West Bromwich Albion’s Saido Berahino, with the club’s technical director Michael Emenalo – who fronts their transfer business – looking at a long-term target should a move be made at the turn of the year.

Another available target is former Arsenal and Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor, with the Togolese currently a free agent after departing from White Hart Lane in miserable circumstances. Mourinho took Adebayor on loan when he was manager at Real Madrid, and the 31-year-old would represent an easy signing given they could cover his wage demands and there would be no transfer fee involved.

However, despite being linked with an immediate move back to the Premier League, it’s understood that Robin van Persie is happy at Fenerbahce and the striker himself has played down links with Chelsea.

(© Independent News Service)

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