A prolonged summer holiday hasn’t been entirely welcome. Diego Costa, the errant Chelsea striker, observed in an interview earlier this summer that lounging around in the sunshine wasn’t his style at all; he longed to be back work, to playing football, he declared. Just not at Chelsea.
The 28-year-old Spanish international’s omission from the squads for the recent World Cup Qualifiers caused consternation among the other players but was justified by coach Julen Lopetegui as being purely down to a lack of match fitness.
With Atletico Madrid unable to register new players until 1st January 2018, that situation isn’t likely to improve any time soon. There are enough matches for club and country between then and the naming of the final 22 to represent Spain, his adopted country, for Costa to feature in Russia.
Chelsea have yet to announce the punishment which will be levied against the striker for his misdemeanours and refusal to return to the defending Premier League champions. The Daily Telegraph claims that the club will throw the book at the miscreant with the maximum fine possible implemented.
It’s a course of action which isn’t likely to see Costa in any rush to return to playing for Antonio Conte, with whom his relationship is said to have broken down. The winter transfer window can’t come quickly enough for player or club, it seems.