It’s amazing how quickly things change in football. With the champagne barely dry on the dressing room walls at Stamford Bridge after Chelsea’s consummate Premier League title triumph, there are already rumours of discontent in the camp.
We say rumours, obviously these are far more than that. Diego Costa was photographed wearing an Atletico Madrid shirt, his former club of course, and appeared to have a pop at Antonio Conte, telling Cesc Fabregas to ‘give Conte a hug’ in a reply to an Instagram post. It’s a symptom of the modern world that transfer dealings are now carried out via social media.
So Costa looks set to depart the English champions, even if a potential transfer is fraught with difficulties. The Chinese transfer window is closed – one obvious escape route for the Spaniard, and the clear target of his affections, Atletico Madrid, are under a transfer embargo that prevents them from signing anyone until January 2018.
But with Costa dropped from Chelsea’s upcoming pre-season tour, there appears to be no way back for the striker.
If he has got his heart set on a move back to Atletico, then some kind of loophole will need to be explored. Or, more likely, is that Costa will move somewhere on loan between August-January, and then complete his full transfer at the start of next year.
As far as betting is concerned, loan deals count in most of the ‘To Sign For…’ style markets, so Costa to Atletico looks unmissable even at stingy odds of 3/10.
With their burly frontman heading for the exit, where do Chelsea turn in their search for a replacement?
Sergio Stamford Bound?
How about this for an explosive bit of transfer news. It’s been reported that Sergio Aguero to Chelsea is a bet that has been hammered by punters, and is now in to 9/4 from 28/1 yesterday.
Is there any truth to the rumour? The jury is out on that, although there has been speculation of a fall-out between Aguero and Pep Guardiola for quite some time. How that manifests itself in the coming months will be interesting to watch, although it seems unlikely that a move to another English club will follow.
Ying and Aubameyang
If the bookmakers are to be believed, then Borussia Dortmund frontman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is London-bound.
The Gabon international is priced at 8/11 to join Chelsea by the end of the transfer window, and the move would certainly suit the player and Conte as well.
Dortmund have slipped down the pecking order in the Bundesliga, slipping to third last season, and so the prospect of joining the Premier League champions will surely appeal to Aubameyang.
As for Chelsea, they will be picking up a player with pace to burn and an unwavering eye for goal. He’s notched a remarkable 84 goals in 128 appearances for the Yellow and Blacks, and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that it is easier to make the transition between the Bundesliga and the Premier League as it is, say, between Serie A and the English top flight.
Sky Sports are on board with the story, their anonymous ‘sources’ revealing Chelsea’s interest in the forward, and that perhaps explains the odds movement. But there is very rarely smoke without fire, and that price of 8/11 might just be worth tagging on to before it plummets yet further.