Frank Lampard thinks Chelsea striker Diego Costa has proven that he is one of the best target men in the world while at Chelsea and suspects Alvaro Morata may find it difficult to replace him.
Costa is expected to leave Chelsea for Atletico Madrid in the coming weeks after falling out with coach Antonio Conte, despite the pair working together to secure the Premier League title last season.
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Morata has since joined Chelsea in a £68 million move from Real Madrid but Lampard thinks that Costa’s absence may still be felt, despite the huge investment.
“I am a big fan of Diego Costa, I don’t underrate him and I don’t think any Chelsea fans do,” Said Lampard, who now works as a football expert at BT Sport.
“I think Costa was popular there because of the all-round striker he is, he is up there with the best in the world in terms of being a big target man.
“He can be a target, run the line and he can also score goals. He can be a consistent problem for any defender. He is not easy to replace, I don’t think replace someone exactly in his mould but in Morata, I think they have a young player with great movement.
50.6% – Of players with more than 10 @PremierLeague appearances, Diego Costa has scored in the highest % of his games (45/89). Steady. “He is a good finisher, he scored around 20 goals last year at Real Madrid and they will need him as their main striker this year.”
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Lampard is Chelsea’s highest ever goalscorer having netted 211 times in a blue shirt and is regarded as one of the club’s greatest ever players.
He maintains a close connection with his former club, despite departing in 2014 to join title rivals Manchester City, and believes that Costa’s attitude wasn’t the reason that he is leaving Stamford Bridge.
“Costa was liked in the dressing room,” Lampard continued. “I think he was more disruptive on the pitch [than in the dressing room]. He played on the edge and we all saw that. In the dressing room, I heard he was jovial, got on well with all the lads.
“So I don’t think he was a problem on that front. I think he was open last year about Atletico Madrid and from then there was rumours all the time so I think it was as much him thinking about leaving. It now seems like he finally will.”
Despite being unhappy with the sale of Costa, Lampard is positive that Chelsea can retain the Premier League title with enough talent remaining at the club.
Lampard also believes that Chelsea will add a few more players between now and transfer deadline day on August 31 and has a positive message for fans of the club.
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“I don’t think it is an easy question to say who will win the Premier League this year,” he added. “It is as open as it has ever been in recent years.
“I just feel for Chelsea, even despite losing big players like Diego Costa and Nemanja Matic, Alvaro Morata has come in and Tiemoue Bakayoko for Matic.
“I think that they will add to their squad before the window shuts and I think that they were so consistent last year, with a manager who was so driven, that I fancy them again this year.
“The other teams will be a big threat. Manchester City will be a major threat, I would say, but they have also brought in a lot of players and it is not as simple that they will come in and adapt straight away.
“I admit I have gone for Chelsea to win it with my heart as well but a bit of my head too because they are a team who knows how to win as well.”