Alvaro Morata has completed his move to Chelsea, for a reported fee of £58 million, this will spark the end for his compatriot Diego Costa at Stamford Bridge.
After the former Atletico Madrid man informed Chelsea of his interest in moving to China during their title-campaign last season, manager Antonio Conte informed the 28-year-old he was no longer in his plans via text this summer.
In truth, Costa’s future at the club has not looked secure since he was left out of the Blues squad against Leicester City after a training ground row back in January, but he now looks clear to leave, having been spotted on holiday in an Atletico Madrid shirt earlier this week.
The Rojiblancos can’t sign anyone until January 2018 due to a transfer ban so Costa may have to move out on loan. However, have the Premier League champions got themselves an upgrade?
Who is better between the duo: Chelsea’s Premier League title winner from last season or their new signing from Real Madrid? Let’s see below:
In Terms of Scoring
Alvaro Morata has yet to score in excess of 15 league goals in a single season but, from a closer look, there is more than initially meets the eye.
Last season Diego Costa bagged 20 league goals for the Blues, while Morata netted 15 goals in La Liga. Across all competition those figures are extended to 22 for Costa and 20 for Morata. But this get interesting when you look at appearances and minutes played.
Costa only missed three league games for the Blues last season, playing 35 times and completing the full 90 minutes on 27 occasions. Morata on the other side, played a total of 26 games but only started 14 of these and, rather incredibly, only finished the full game five times.
In the Champions League, the former Juventus striker played nine games in Real successful run to claim the trophy, but only started once. In total Morata played 1,792 minutes, which means the Spaniard averaged a goal every 89.3 minutes last season.
To put this in perspective, this was a better minutes-per-goal record than any player in the Madrid squad and the second best in the whole of La Liga, bettered only by Lionel Messi (79.1). Not bad for a substitute. And his rate is almost two times better than Costa, who bagged 22 goals in 3,490 minutes, or one every158.6.
Morata’s career scoring record may look weak, but with more starts and game time, he could deliver more regularly. Therefore, while the Blues would not have won the league without Costa last year, they not have actually taken a backwards step in this department with their new arrival.
One area one can see the Blues improving is the air. Of Costa’s 20 EPL goals last season, only two (10 percent) were scored with his head. Conversely, 39 percent of Morata’s goals in La Liga and the Champions League were headers.
If Costa seemed like a player who wasn’t particularly dominant in the air throughout his career in England, that’s because the stats prove he wasn’t. Morata’s total aerial duels last season, he only won 25 percent, whereas the Spaniard won a hefty 50 percent.
Without any doubt, he will open up a whole new edge of Chelsea’s attack and provide them with a new option.
Passing, shooting and one-on-ones
In terms of passing accuracy both players scored fairly highly, with Costa posting a 75 percent pass success rate and Morata posting a slightly higher 78 percent.
Both can keep possession and link the play, but Morata also had a higher shooting accuracy than Costa during 2016-17: Costa hit the target with 53 percent of his attempts, while Morata had 63 percent.
Like headers, another area Morata excels in compared to Costa is one-on-one against defenders. In 54 percent of the instances Morata took on a player in La Liga last season he was successful, whereas Costa only got past his man 41 percent of the time.
Discipline and winning mentality
Ironically, one area in which Costa did post better stats was discipline: Sixty-nine percent of the 133 fouls involving the Spaniard last season saw him win the free kick or penalty. This clearly supports the notion that Costa is more in control of his on-field antics and gets in the head of opposition defenders. Morata actually gave away more fouls than he suffered, with 55 percent of those he was involved in awarded against him.
Despite scoring nine fewer than Golden Boot winner Harry Kane, Costa’s goals earned the most points of any player in the Premier League last season. Costa was a monumental presence for Conte.
Morata, meanwhile, directly contributed 13 points with his 15 goals; only Cristiano Ronaldo, with 14, yielded a higher figure for Real Madrid. He has been top scorer at Under-19 and U-21 European Championships for Spain and he scored in the 2015 Champions League final for Juventus against Barcelona in 2015.
All in all, it appears as if Chelsea have signed a world-class. Getting use to life in the Premier League can take time and, at 24, Morata is still a young player to be making such a high-profile transfer. Selling Costa will be a big loss, but his replacement looks like he’s fully loaded.