Diego Costa could yet depart Chelsea and the Premier League for China, says former England international Alan Shearer.
The 28-year-old striker was heavily linked with a switch to the Chinese Super League during the winter transfer window, with big-money offers reported to have been tabled.
Chelsea were able to see off that interest and retain the services of a prized asset, with Costa’s 16-goal haul this season having helped them to close on the English top-flight title.
Talk of a move to Asia refuses to go away, though, and Shearer fears further approaches may be made for a top talent over the summer.
Speaking to to Goal on the sidelines of the Football Movement Conference for a conversation hosted by Star Sports, the official broadcaster of Premier League, Shearer said: “I’m a big fan of his. The way he links his team together and brings them together is good.
“If he had moved, it would’ve been a big loss to the Premier League but it would have been a bigger loss for Chelsea. I’m pleased he’s stayed in the Premier League, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to me if China came calling for him again.”
Since joining Chelsea in the summer of 2014, Costa has netted 42 Premier League goals in just 78 appearances.
That strike rate places him above any other striker to have graced England’s top division, including record goalscorer Shearer.
The former Newcastle and Blackburn forward admits the Spain international is a unique talent and one that few defenders will relish facing.
He added: “I like him a lot. He pushes the boundaries and he’s hard.
“As a centre-forward, you have to make life very difficult for the centre-backs. When he comes off after 90 minutes, he must know he was in for a game and I think Costa is one of the best in doing that. That’s what I did and you must not let the defenders bully you.
“I think he has the balance right this season. Last season, he was too extreme and getting sent off. This season, it’s been very good. A centre-forward is judged on the goals he scores and he’s once again being the player he was two years ago.”