Antonio Conte’s text to Chelsea forward Diego Costa has dominated football headlines over the past 24 hours. The striker revealed in an interview after Spain’s friendly with Colombia that he’s in the market for a new club following the text message he received from Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, which hinted he’s not a part of his plans for next season, and that he’s free to move on to another club. It would seem a harsh move from the Chelsea gaffer to a player of Costa’s calibre, especially putting into consideration all the man has put into the club in the past seasons. He’s been a regular goalscorer, and a good contributor to the overall success of the team, but if you put yourself in the shoes of Conte, you might cut him some slack.
The Italian has managed to deliver in his first season at Chelsea, but even he knows that the real task has only started. Roman Abrahmovich will be expecting a lot more from him in the coming season, and he’ll definitely get the chop if he fails. So the man is only trying to sort himself and his team out before the start of the coming campaign. He needs his players to be focused and ready to give 100% for him when needed. Costa has been linked with moves away from Chelsea in the past, and while he never moved, it was always obvious he wanted to. The brouhaha that ensued between him and the club over the January transfer window is evidence of this. A player that cannot stick his head and mind in a place is not good for business.
Costa has been good in front of goal, but his returns in the past 3 seasons have never exceeded the 22 goal mark. We are Chelsea, and if we’re really going to compete and keep staying top, we need a little more than that. Harry Kane and Lukaku have been tremendous for their clubs, and they don’t even have the sort of attack we have. If they were at Chelsea, they’d probably score way more.
The other issue that Costa has is that of his temperament. He’s like a walking time bomb that could go off on the pitch any minute, leaving the team devastated and destroyed. He is easily frustrated. A striker that cannot be calm for the whole 90 minutes is a lot of baggage to handle. You got to be calm, no matter the caliber of game.
If you put all these factors into perspective, you’ll understand that what Conte has done isn’t out of spite or bad will, but to better his lot and that of Chelsea in both the short and long run. I’m a fan of Costa too, and he’s a wonderful player, but sometimes, some decisions have to be made. This was one of them, and it’s clearly for the greater good.