CHELSEA would be second in the Premier League table if they had kept hold of Diego Costa this season, claims Danny Mills.
Costa infamously fell out with Chelsea boss Antonio Conte last summer.
Conte text the Spain striker, telling him he was no longer wanted at the club.
Costa went on to rejoin Atletico Madrid and was replaced at Stamford Bridge by Alvaro Morata.
Chelsea have struggled and sit fifth in the table, with their hopes of finishing in the top four all but over.
Mills believes Costa would have made a massive difference and lifted the Blues over the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham in the table.
“I know they’ve brought in Morata, who’s a good player,” Mills said on Sky Sports.
“But when you lose a player like Diego Costa, his goals, the way that he plays, the way he leads the line.
“Willian and Hazard were brilliant yesterday (against West Ham). If you would have put Costa in that, if you put Costa in that Chelsea team, they’re probably second in the league at the moment.
“Obviously (Manchester) City have been excellent but they would be a lot, lot better.
“Conte has had an issue with recruitment ever since and at the start of the season he changed the formation, because he was playing three in midfield instead of the normal two because (Tiemoue) Bakayoko was in there a lot.
“That then detracted, Willian didn’t play the first half of the season hardly at all.
“So he’s had this issue with recruitment, he had the same issue in the January transfer window. He’s not been happy since last summer.”
Three Good Things For Chelsea Fans
It may not have been the season we all wanted as Chelsea fans but who knows it may bring about changes that will be for the good of the club.
That`s all pie-in-the-sky though, it`s a feint hope. What we can at least be happy about is the performances of three of our players. They have been the stand-out trio for most of the season.
N`golo Kante has worked relentlessly in his midfield role. The fact that Antonio Conte has chosen to pair him with Cesc Fabregas for most of the campaign has only hindered him. He breaks up play and never stops running.
At 27 years-of-age he`s at the peak of his career and is contracted until the summer of 2021. Chelsea brought the French international for £36m at the start of last season his current value on Transfermarkt is £60m. Chelsea must keep Kante at all costs.
Cesar Azpilicueta has stepped into the captain`s role with an assured calmness that so many of his teammates are lacking. Azpi actually cares about the club. His goal yesterday was deserved and his celebration respectful to a Chelsea legend and the captain’s armband permanently.
When he first arrived his was nicknamed ‘Dave` by fans and players alike as they struggled with his surname. Back in 2017 Azpi explained the Only Fools and Horses link. Dave`s 28 years-old, his contract has two years left on it. He was signed back in 2012 for just under £9m. Current value on Transfermarkt £40m. Chelsea`s hierarchy need to make a contract extension for the Spaniard a priority.
Andreas Christensen may be the best of all though. He made a great start replacing David Luiz at the centre of Chelsea`s back three. His form has dropped off as the season has worn on, but with the team underperforming and with not everyone pulling their weight, that could be expected.
Certainly he`s one who can push in further next season when the team are, hopefully, better balanced. If he`s to leave the club in the summer Antonio Conte can leave having delivered a Premier League title, and having given the young Dane his chance.
Christensen arrived at Chelsea as a 16 year-old from Brondby on a free transfer. Still only 21 years-of-age, his current market value on Transfermarkt is £40m.
That`s good business in anyone`s book. If Chelsea can keep these three and build around them, then Chelsea maybe, have a chance. Get rid of the wantaways and reintegrate some of the loanees next season. Most importantly stop wasting £30m-a-pop of journeyman players who don`t cut the mustard.