I read an interesting article from Micah Richards on the BBC today, how is of the firm believe that, if City signed former Chelsea striker Diego Costa, they would win the league.
It’s an interesting perspective to take and could potentially improve, even if it is a short-term option, our attacking and goalscoring chances. Costa is a well-known name in the Premier League, but not always for the right reasons.
In his first season at Chelsea, Costa scored seven goals in his first four games, including debut goal after 17 minutes at Burnley and a hat-trick at home to Swansea. City were the first team to prevent the Spanish striker from scoring, however Costa’s name was one of five Chelsea players booked in a bad-tempered game at the Etihad Stadium.
Although he was scoring goals, Costa’s nature saw his name in the referee’s notebook three times in his first five matches, and by the end of 2014, Costa has scored 13 goals and received 7 yellow cards. In January 2015, Costa was charged by the FA for stamping on Liverpool midfielder Emre Can and was given a three match ban.
In his first season, Costa scored21 goals in 37appearances for Chelsea, however the striker only managed 15 from 41 matches the following season and received another three match ban from the FA for violent conduct, after the striker repeatedly slapped Laurent Koscielny. In November 2015, he was accused of assaulting a steward at Stoke City’s Britannia Stadium and against Liverpool again, he looked to have stuck his boot into the chest of defender Martin Skrtel.
In March 2016, Costa was deemed to have bitten Everton’s Gareth Barry and was sent off for the first time in a Chelsea shirt and banned for another three matches. Costa scored 22 goals in 42 matches the following season, but before the start of the 2017/18 season, manager Antonio Conte told the striker by text that he was no longer in Chelsea’s plans and the striker returned to Atletico Madrid. In 2019, Costa was banned for 8 matches for abusing a referee and in December 2020, he and Atletico agreed to terminate his contract, and is now available of a free transfer, so should Pep Guardiola act now?
It’s always difficult for both the incoming player and the rest of the team when a newcomer arrives, particularly one with a reputation. When Craig Bellamy was rumoured to be joining City in January 2009, there was some consternation amongst the faithful as to what he could contribute and many suggestions that he would ‘mess things up’ for City die to his temperament. The striker scored 4 goals in 11 appearances in 2009, then in the 09/10 season, Bellamy scored 11 goals in 40 appearances before moving to Cardiff on loan.
It’s in stark contrast to the famous story of Rodney Marsh, who joined City from QPR in March 1972 for a then club record of £200,000. City were 4 points clear at the top of the First Division and on course for another league title, but Marsh, on his own admission, changed the way City played and accepts that he cost the blues the league title.
It sounds harsh to blame Marsh for losing the title, but following his arrival, City took just 13 out of a possible 27, including losing back to back games at home to Stoke and away to Southampton. When City went to Ipswich exactly a month after Marsh signed, the blues were 2nd in the league, one point behind leaders Derby, and a 2-1 defeat left City’s title hopes in doubt. The blues beat Derby 2-0 at Maine Road, but the Rams had a game in hand on City. On 1st May, Derby won their final game and went top to win the league.
It is without doubt that Costa can score goals, and as Micah points out in his article, that is something we need in the continued absence of Sergio Aguero, but would he be of benefit to the blues, or could he end up costing them the title, rather than winning it? Would Costa add value to an already established side and give them that little push over the line?
It’s hard to say if the signing of Costa would be the one thing that drives City to another Premier League title, and if Guardiola does indeed sign the striker, he will need to be managed very carefully to ensure Costa doesn’t disrupt the current machine.