Diego Costa will be kissing his career goodbye if he leaves Chelsea to go to China, claims Ray Wilkins.
Over the last few days, the league leaders top scorer has been the subject of controversy after rumours surfaced that he had fallen out with coaching staff at Chelsea, followed by a bust up with head coach Antonio Conte.
The official reason for the Spanish internationals absence was a back injury, a claim backed by both Conte and Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso, but reports suggest that a training ground row did indeed happen with the backdrop of a 30m a year offer from Chinas Tianjin Quanjian very much a factor.
And former Chelsea player and staff member Ray Wilkins believes Costa should ultimately choose career over cash, and NOT follow his former team mates Ramires and Oscar over to the Chinese Super League.
“If it’s financial, and he wants to move to China, then I don’t quite understand it to be perfectly honest,” said Wilkins, who was captain of Chelsea early in his career and became assistant manger during Carlo Ancelotti’s tenure at Stamford Bridge.
“I think as a footballer if you’re going to go to China, now at 28 years of age, you’re basically saying, like Oscar, your career is finished.
“You’re going there for the finance. Aren’t these young men earning enough in this country to enjoy playing their football?
“I would imagine Costa is well recompensed for what he does at Chelsea, and I would imagine there is a new deal for him there if he wishes to take it.”
Wilkins also went on to suggest he believes any long-term absence of Costa could seriously damage Chelsea’s title bid this campaign.
“Obviously a couple of players have come out, like Thibaut Courtois, saying ‘of course we can win without Diego’, but if they are going to win the Premier League, then they are going to need this guy.”
“He has been in fantastic form. Last year the guy was almost a disgrace, this year he has just been superb. He causes havoc for everyone.
“This guy is scoring every type of goal this year, and if you ask any defender, they would say he is probably the toughest guy to play against.”
Wilkins echos the opinion of most football fans across the world, who find it very difficult to understand why any player would choose to ove to China and leave behind the glitz and glamour of the Premier League – especially if the reason for doing so is purely powered by thoughts of money.
Players are hardly on peanuts in the English top flight, but only time will tell which matters more to Costa, the money, or playing at the very top level of professional football, for a team that need him – and for a fan base dressed in Blue, who adore him.