Diego Costa played 120 times in all competitions during a four year stint at Chelsea, scoring 58 goals for the club, but he has perhaps never been more appreciated by the fans as he is now.
Chelsea signed the Brazilian-born Spaniard’s replacement before he had even left the club, and after the West London side spent £60m on Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid in the summer of 2017, it quickly became clear that Costa would be leaving in the following January window.
Unfortunately for the Blues, Morata’s time at Stamford Bridge has been a living nightmare, and despite netting the winner in the Europa League on Thursday night, he has not been able to convince that he has the strength and power to lead the line in English football.
Costa on the other hand was the perfect lone striker. He relished the physical side of the game and terrorised centre-backs, whilst also being extremely prolific in front of goal.
The Chelsea hierarchy clearly decided that Morata was not the answer at the end of the January window when Costa had just left, and links to Andy Carroll, Ashley Barnes and Peter Crouch made the club somewhat of a laughing stock at the time.
The board eventually settled on a much more sensible signing in Olivier Giroud, but even the World Cup winning Frenchman is too much of a nice guy and isn’t clinical enough in front of goal, the same problems that Morata has had.
Chelsea then should look at signing Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic next summer, to finally replace the void that Costa left when he rejoined his former side Atletico Madrid.
The Blues have started the season well under new boss Maurizio Sarri and sit third in the Premier League table behind Manchester City and Liverpool, but they are still overly reliant on Eden Hazard and a goalscoring striker should be their priority.
Mitrovic is a bull of a striker and can be unplayable on his day. Slavisa Jokanovic’s newly promoted side spent £22m on the Serbian international over the summer, after he spent the second half of the last campaign on loan at Craven Cottage and his 12 league goals fired the club to promotion.
So far this season he has certainly continued his form, with five goals in his first seven Premier League games proving that he has all the potential to be a top six striker. Although he is only valued at £16.2m by Transfermarkt though, this form will have hiked the asking price up massively for the 24-year-old.
If Chelsea are serious about finding a top striker who can replace Costa, they don’t even need to look outside of the west of London for their perfect man.