If reports are to be believed, Chelsea are planning on doing all their shopping in Madrid this summer. Diego Costa has already completed a medical at the club and Tiago, Filipe Luis and Koke have all been heavily linked with a move to Stamford Bridge. While none are without their merits, it’s hard not to feel that the club are hooked that flavour of the month.
Atletico Madrid had an incredible season. They won the league that couldn’t be won and came within minutes of adding to that the Champions League. They knocked out Chelsea on their way to that final, and it can be argued that it is only logical that Mourinho would seek to add some of their players to his roster given the level of their performances in the second leg in particular.
However, delve a little deeper and it seems that fashion may be getting in the way of logic. Atleti performed incredibly last season – and that statement alone should tell you a lot. The chances of them delivering to the same level again is extremely unlikely, and the chances of the various individuals performing as well outside the collective is even more so. Atletico Madrid had a special season, under a special manager, who built a team whose spirit made it greater than the sum of its parts. Expecting these players to perform as well in different conditions is optimistic; and solely targeting these players is only chasing the cool.
Filipe Luis is a strong defender with the kind of work rate that Mourinho demands from his players. His combative nature is akin to that of Costa and it’s easy to imagine him settling into life in the Premier League. But at 28-years-old with an asking price of £19m, you can’t help but feel there is better value for money around. Alberto Moreno springs to mind; as does Ricardo Rodriguez.
Chelsea’s interest in Koke is not surprising – everyone’s interested in Koke. However, the midfielder appears destined to move to Barcelona. And yet reports suggest Mourinho is reluctant to sign Fabregas because he retains a hope of landing Koke. Such thinking suggests the manager is hung-up on the perfect when the good is right in front. It also does Fabregas a disservice, who seems to be victim of neglect through a fall in his personal cool points.
The Tiago case is even harder to figure. The player was underwhelming during his time at Stamford Bridge, and even with his subsequent development considered, was the least impressive of Madrid’s central three. At 33-years-old and with a long-term replacement for Frank Lampard now required, Tiago doesn’t seem like the kind of player that the club should be targeting.
Even in Chelsea’s purchase of Costa the club can be accused of chasing the cool. The forward is 25-years-old and this is the first season in which he has scored at rate that could be considered prolific. Last season Costa managed 10 goals in his 31 league appearances for Atletico. The season before that, he only scored six times in his 28 La Liga games. Many have painted Costa as the guaranteed solution to Chelsea’s striking troubles but the striker is anything but a sure thing.
There’s also little sense to be found in doing all your shopping in the same place. Atletico Madrid won’t be happy about losing another star striker and their going to be less so if Chelsea decide not to loan them Courtois for a fourth season. Angering your prospective business partner tends not to be the most effective negotiation technique and Chelsea are unlikely to find much value at the Vincente Calderon past Costa.
Of course, a lot of this may be nothing more than rumour, but such has been the strength and frequency of Chelsea’s links to Atletico Madrid players as to suggest that there is some real interest there.
Atletico Madrid’s players deserve attention for their performances last season but there is danger in reading too much into these displays. Many performed at levels that represented outliers in their careers, and by solely targeting players from Madrid, it seems like Chelsea may be guilty of making decisions on fashion over sense.