Morata & Lukaku loom large on the horizon - but unsettled Costa can still win Chelsea the league

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The Blues forward isn't surplus to requirements and his contribution from earlier in the season should earn him patience during his bad spell of form


Diego Costa has been left out of the PFA Player of the Year nominations, while Didier Drogba has discussed a possible Romelu Lukaku return to Stamford Bridge, but it isn't time to forget about Chelsea's front man just yet.

Four Premier League games without a goal mean it is Costa's longest dry spell since joining Chelsea, but he remains his club's top goal scorer having earned them many crucial points along the way. 

His dip in form has coincided perfectly with a lucrative offer to move to the Chinese Super League with Tianjin Quanjian. It isn't only his goalscoring form but his assists and key passes have also declined which is further evidence that he was unsettled by his triple-your-money offer from China

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That money could turn anyone's head and it could be argued that his agent Jorge Mendes hasn't helped his form as Costa weighs up gold coins versus silverware. 

Costa isn't the first striker to go through a bad spell but his downward turn has coincided with the football awards season, as Eden Hazard has powered up towards the end of this season.

Diego Costa GFX

Hazard is now a front runner for the awards, along with N'Golo Kante, and they deserve their spots after helping to soften the impact of Costa's lost form.

However, that's not to forget the impact that Costa's goals alone have had on Chelsea. His goals earned five points in their opening four games, as he scored late winners and equalisers for his club in a transitional period. 

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After that he scored winning goals against Middlesbrough, West Brom and Crystal Palace, while his opening goal against Manchester City was a defining moment for both Chelsea and Pep Guardiola's side. 

Before Janaury, Costa appeared a certainty to secure the PFA Player of the Year award and he was looking far more influential than Hazard at that time. Costa faces an end of season with two potential titles to be won, with Chelsea also in the FA Cup semi-finals, and with a plans for a summer transfer window in the process of being drawn up. 

He can reiterate his claim as Chelsea's number one striker, in a summer where manager Antonio Conte looks likely to sign a big name striker. Chelsea are interested in Lukaku, who is refusing to renew his Everton contract, and Alvaro Morata, who could be tempted away from Real Madrid despite them being his boyhood club. 

Alvaro Morata Napoli Real Madrid

Romelu Lukaku Jose Mourinho Chelsea

Drogba is right that if Chelsea get Lukaku "it will be great for the club," and he went onto endorse his return to Stamford Bridge in an interview with Sky Sports.

"He knows the house already and I think he wants to prove he can be successful here, he didn't get the chance to do it,” he said. “Chelsea is his club since he was young, so why not? He wants to be the best. He's really working hard to become the best."

Hazard & Kante nominated for PFA Players' Player of the Year

However, Costa hasn't left yet and will pose some challenge for Lukaku upon his return. Let's not forget that Costa's goal record for the club is still remarkable with 49 goals in 80 games in the Premier League. It took Drogba 106 games to reach his 50th goal and Costa will beat that record. 

Lukaku famously refused a Champions League medal during the historic win for Chelsea in 2012 and next season could be a fight between two world class players for the number nine shirt. 

As Champions League returns, that is what is required as Conte's champions-elect have been overreliant on certain players, but they have luckily been able to avoid injuries or fixture congestion. 

Costa is Chelsea's number one right now, though, and he can stay ahead of the game as new signings come in. Conte is a huge fan and only Costa can ruin his perception in the eyes of his manager. 

Diego Costa Antonio Conte Chelsea

Conte has probably never managed a better striker than Costa, with Carlos Tevez perhaps being the best one he managed to bring to Juventus. The Chelsea boss loves a fighter and Costa has at least never stopped putting in the effort as things fail to come off on the pitch. 

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As well as fighting spirit and goals, Costa provides a pivot point for his team in a 3-4-3 formation. He has great ability to move the ball, while he is quick enough to get in behind the defence. If you defend deep against Chelsea then Costa is also good enough to win aerial duels, making him a complete striker.

Therefore, it is no wonder that Conte has continued using Costa with the £33 million Michy Batshuayi still on the bench. It is increasingly looking like Batshuayi may leave, as another big name arrives. The selections reveal all you need to know about Conte's thoughts on the Costa versus Batshuayi debate. 

Tottenham have only managed to claw back three points from Chelsea's original 10 point lead, despite going on a six game winning run. Chelsea have a significant lead but it isn't decisive and they are seven points clear with seven games remaining.

Costa will have more offers if he contributes to glory as he enters the last two years of his Chelsea deal. Chinese Super League clubs could come back in for him, although their spending power has been greatly reduced, while he remains hugely admired by his old club Atletico Madrid

Diego Costa Chelsea Premier League

He continued to show his commitment as he celebrated with the fans after his side chalked off another huge win against Bournemouth. Chelsea's away support kept singing "Diego, Diego" as he failed to find the net. 

Chelsea will need Costa to come good, or they risk failure, especially ahead of difficult matches in the FA Cup. These final months of the season could secure Costa's long-term legacy at Stamford Bridge, where he may yet chose to stay. 

His next seven, eight or nine games are a chance to show Lukaku and Morata who is boss, whilst also lifting a trophy or two.