It seems every transfer these days ends ugly. It is a rare occasion that a player departs a club in 2017 without a flurry of snake emojis being sent to both his personal social media accounts and those of the two clubs involved.
Diego Costa’s transfer to Atletico Madrid from Chelsea has been a personification of the striker involved. Nasty, snarling, and brutal. Fran Guillen’s biography of the forward is titled ‘The Art of War’ for a reason,
Three seasons, that garnered two Premier League titles and a League Cup, summed up in a two-line club statement.
“Chelsea Football Club has today agreed terms with Atletico Madrid for the transfer of Diego Costa.
“The transfer will be subject to the agreement of personal terms and a medical.”
A club statement that says so little but says so much. Chelsea got sick of one of its favourite sons by the end.
Chelsea fans adored their star striker as one of them, or ‘Proper Chels’ as the saying around the fanbase goes. We love him because the opposition hate him. He scored goals, lots of them, which helped and his confrontational gamesmanship got under the skin of anybody and everybody he played against. ‘Diego Costa. The Guv’nor’ read his banner.
Two successful seasons out of three, in which Costa scored 52 goals in 89 league games had him rightly lauded by the Stamford Bridge faithful, even when he was not so. Diego, Diego, Diego was sung despite his public request to quit west London.
It is reported that, on Antonio Conte’s first day at Chelsea, Costa told the Italian that he wanted to return to Spain. Conte decided to stick with Costa as his talisman, to great effect. To Costa’s credit, he carried on as normal and was the Blues’ top scorer last term. His petulance held off, with a wobble in January when China came calling.
It was the summer though when the patience ran out. Chelsea resigned themselves to losing Costa and splashed out a club-record fee for Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata, who has started brilliantly and already has three goals to his name. They had no choice when Costa went to his native Brazil and never returned.
The relationship between manager and player officially entered petulant teenage level when Conte dumped Costa by text and the absolute final straw was Costa claiming Conte treated him like a criminal.
“They want me there training with the reserves,” Costa told the Daily Mail. “I wouldn’t be allowed access to the first-team dressing room and I would have no contact with the guys. I am not a criminal.
“I don’t think that is fair after all I have done to be treated like that.
“You know the manager doesn’t want me. I am waiting for Chelsea to set me free. I didn’t want to leave. I was happy.”
Conte laughed that off, literally, in his next press conference and had one final snip at his striker: “I can tell you that everyone who works in Chelsea knows what happened’.
In January, Costa will be reunited with Diego Simeone who has christened him his Bestia meaning ‘Beast’.
There was certainly no beauty to be had here.