With Diego Costa having finalised his move to Atlético Madrid, a transfer which he himself has forced through – are players starting to gain a newfound power capable of dictating when and where they want to play?
In January, the striker expressed his interest to leave the club, but Chelsea wanted to keep him for the season and now after months of speculation over the summer, the striker has secured a return to his former club. Chelsea manager Antonio Conte told Costa in pre-season that he was surplus to requirements and Chelsea’s star striker hasn’t been seen since.
The Spanish international was instrumental during last season’s campaign for Chelsea, scoring 20 goals to help them lift the title and this is part of the reason as to why he has decided to spend most of August in Brazil. Feeling that he was mistreated by Conte, Costa decided to take matters into his own hands, speaking to media and press about how he would only move to Atlético. Bids supposedly came through from the Chinese League and Chelsea wanted him to go but Costa refused, showing that in the world of modern football players seem to have more power than the club when it comes to where they want to end up playing.
We have had many examples of player power creating a huge impact on club decisions. During last season, Leicester City sacked Claudio Ranieri – a decision which shocked the footballing world. This was then made worse when it was claimed that key players such as Jamie Vardy and Kaspar Schmeichel had allegedly spoken to the chairman asking for him to be removed from his post.
There were also the examples of Virgil Van Dijk, Philippe Coutinho and Alexis Sanchez this summer, with all three wanting to transfer elsewhere but their clubs (Southampton, Liverpool and Arsenal respectively) all fought back, holding on to their players because they felt like they were too essential to let go. However, these players are now just starting to be in contention to play after various reasons for each of them not playing for their clubs for the first four game weeks.
It also now raises the question as to whether these players will perform at the highest level, with fans all knowing that they want to leave. So, in these situations, player power still seems to be a huge problem.
With today’s coverage of modern football, there always seems to be a problem where a player wants to move after hearing that a better club wants their signature. This causes a domino effect, leaving the club in sticky situations that they cannot control. Football chairmen now have a newfound problem which is getting bigger and bigger each transfer window and this problem doesn’t seem to have a solution.
Even though Costa wanted to leave, the way in which the whole situation has been dealt with is messy. If Chelsea could have kept him happy until they sold him he could have still been a key part to Chelsea’s season, but he is unsettled, so even if they wanted to play him, they wouldn’t have been able to because he wouldn’t turn up to training. This type of player power has been one of the strongest ones yet and shows that Diego Costa has not only evolved the way in which players will try and force a move but also shown how much power football players now have.