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'Costa would be average if he wasn't nasty'

ESPN staff
July 23, 2014 « Bolt hits out at anti-doping officials | Carroll injury raises concerns »
Is Costa a 'one season wonder'?

Chelsea's new £32 million striker Diego Costa is an "average player" if you take away his "nastiness and aggression", according to a former key member of the club's backroom staff.

Paul Clement, who coached at Chelsea under Jose Mourinho and is now Carlo Ancelotti's assistant at Real Madrid, claims his old club have signed last season's best player from Atletico Madrid - but that was Felipe Luis not Costa.

Fabregas: I want it all

  • Chelsea's £27m signing Cesc Fabregas believes Jose Mourinho's personal visit to his home in Catalonia removed any doubt that he would move to Stamford Bridge.
  • "When Jose came to see me, he made me believe that he wanted me in a very good way," Fabregas said.
  • "When we spoke together, I became sure it was the best option for me. Now I want to win absolutely everything. I know Jose's teams are always very difficult to beat and to play against. Tactically they are very well-composed and they have discipline. He gets the best out of his players."

"Costa's aggression and nastiness is the key, as without that he'd be a fairly average player," Clement told The Times. "I'm not surprised Mourinho has signed him as he's the kind of player who'd die on the pitch for his teammates, but he won't find it as easy to bully defenders in England as he did in Spain. He's not Didier Drogba yet, but he's a big improvement on what Chelsea had.

"Atletico had an amazing season last year, but Filipe Luis was their best player. We [Real Madrid] played them five times and I watched them on countless other occasions. He never seemed to make a mistake.

"He's good on the ball, reasonably quick and incredibly tough in the tackle. He's smart and resilient, so should be perfect for the Premier League. How he wasn't playing for Brazil this summer I'll never know."

Costa scored 36 goals in 52 games for Atletico last season, attracting interest from several of the biggest European clubs and convincing Chelsea to pay the buyout clause in his contract. However, his form before that was far less impressive, scoring only seven goals in his first 42 appearances.

Luis also enjoyed a good campaign before joining Chelsea from Atletico for £20m and becoming the third player from La Liga to sign for Mourinho's side this summer, along with Costa and Cesc Fabregas.

He appeared 32 times in an Atletico defence that conceded just 26 goals on the way to their first La Liga title since 1996 last season.

The 28 year old also featured in both legs of the 3-1 aggregate win against Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final and collected four trophies in four seasons at Atletico after joining from Deportivo La Coruna in 2010.

Luis has since established himself as one of Europe's leading full-backs under the guidance of Diego Simeone and, with Ashley Cole leaving Chelsea for Roma after eight years at the club, Clement believes the former England defender's successor is a better player.

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