Jose Mourinho has admitted that there are concerns about the fitness of Diego Costa, as the blues prepare for their season opener against Swansea City. Chelsea are hoping to win back-to-back league titles for the first time since 2006. However, they have had a very tough pre-season after failing to win any games. The latest came just a few days ago – against Fiorentina at Stamford Bridge – and even this ended in a 1-0 defeat. However, Mourinho has sounded confident of retaining the title. Chelsea are also the favourites amongst bookmakers and pundits alike.
Diego Costa was a major factor in Chelsea lifting the league title last season. However, his goals per game ratio suffered immensely towards the end of the campaign. It was partly down to poor form but largely because of injuries. He does not seem to have completely overcome the stop-and-start nature of his game. The hamstring injuries are still continuing to bog him down despite a lot of rest in the summer.
Chelsea have appeared toothless in all of the pre-season games until now. This was especially the case in the Community Shield against Arsenal when the lack of cutting edge was the reason for a 1-0 defeat. Mourinho says that he would rather prefer a top-class striker – who is injured more often than not – than a mediocre forward. Speaking ahead of the opening game against Swansea, Mourinho said:
“I don’t know, I promise you.
“I think he’ll train. His reaction to that and confidence to play is another story. When he plays, he’s [equivalent to] 1.5 [strikers], he compensates.
“I prefer a top player who is sometimes injured, than one who is always available but only a bit better than me.”
“I believe the teams who are not title contenders will be stronger this year.”
The blues have had a very quiet summer transfer window, but Mourinho has confirmed that they are in the market for a new player after the departure of Filipe Luis. A left back is of immediate priority since there are no backups to Cesar Azpilicueta as of now. Chelsea are believed to have agreed personal terms with Augsburg full-back Baba Rahman, who will cost around £17 million. The 21-year-old Ghanaian international has been the target of several clubs, but Chelsea are thought to have won the race with only minor details to be finalised.
Everton defender John Stones has also been of huge interest to Chelsea. The Premier League champions have made two concrete offers for the player but both of them have been rejected by Everton. The latest offer is believed to be worth around £26 million but the Merseyside outfit are adamant that the player is not for sale. Stones is seen as the future replacement for John Terry.