Peter Crouch has urged Chelsea to re-sign Diego Costa from Atletico Madrid if they want to mount a serious title challenge under Maurizio Sarri.
After falling out with then-manager Antonio Conte, Costa left Chelsea for Atletico in 2017 and has gone on to win the Europa League with the Spanish side.
Do Chelsea need to re-sign Diego Costa? Five key things to know…
- Diego Costa scored 59 goals in 120 games for Chelsea between 2014 and 2017.
- Those goals helped the club win two Premier League titles, as well as the 2015 League Cup.
- But Costa fell out with Antonio Conte and joined Atletico Madrid in 2017, leaving Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud to try and provide goals for the Blues.
- Morata and Giroud have only managed six Premier League goals between them so far this season.
- Stoke forward Peter Crouch thinks this will stop Chelsea mounting a title challenge and has urged the club to re-sign Diego Costa.
And despite seeming happy in Madrid, former England international Crouch reckons Costa could be tempted back to Stamford Bridge if the Blues came calling.
The Stoke City striker told the Daily Mail: “Costa might be happy in Madrid, but if the only reason he went to Spain was Conte, hasn’t that problem been solved?
“All the top teams have a 30-goal assassin. Chelsea need one now more than ever.”
After some promising early signs under Sarri, Chelsea have fallen behind the Premier League’s front three recently and following their recent 0-0 draw against Southampton, Crouch is concerned that the London club won’t be able to mount a title challenge any time soon without a ’30 goals per-season striker’ like Harry Kane or Sergio Aguero.
Liverpool and Manchester City are currently the two favourites to win the title race this season, with Spurs considered dark horses, but if Blues wish to compete with them next term Crouch feels they must “break the bank” to re-sign Costa.
“The title challenge won’t happen this year,” he insisted.
“For all that the early signs under Maurizio Sarri were good, Chelsea are going to see the three teams ahead of them disappear into the distance.
“But after watching their 0-0 draw with Southampton earlier this week, I have concerns about whether they will mount a proper title challenge next season, too.
“The one thing you need is someone to score you 30 goals and they do not have a player like Harry Kane, Mo Salah or Sergio Aguero.
“Not so long ago, they did. Diego Costa would absolutely transform Chelsea’s fortunes and, if it was down to me, I’d break the bank to re-sign him.
“You can talk about Gonzalo Higuain or Karim Benzema, but I think Costa would be the one to take Chelsea where they want to be.”
Having struggled with injuries, Costa only has four goals in 15 appearances for Atletico since returning and is currently sidelined after having undergone foot surgery in December.
Giroud and Morata unfit for a title challenge, according to Crouch
Chelsea already have Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud as their centre-forward options, although the two have managed just six Premier League goals between them this season.
And although Crouch is an admirer of the pair, the 37-year-old believes Chelsea may be better off looking for other options, feeling that Morata especially may not be cut out for English football.
“I like Olivier Giroud, and Alvaro Morata is a forward with great technical gifts, but it just does not seem to be happening for him in England. I’m not sure it is going to, either,” he said.
“For some players, it just doesn’t work in the Premier League.
“Morata has had some good moments, but not the kind you would expect from someone who arrived for such a big price and it was revealing yesterday to hear Zola — who is now Sarri’s assistant — admit that the Spaniard is suffering a crisis of confidence.”
Morata scored both goals in Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest on Saturday but sandwiched between the brace was a horrendous miss from two yards.