Chelsea contemplating new striker amid Costa concerns

LONDON • Chelsea will spend the next few weeks considering their options in the January transfer window before determining whether to target a striker amid growing concerns over Diego Costa.

Costa, an integral figure in the team who won Chelsea's first Premier League title for five years in May, has cut an increasingly agitated figure over recent weeks.

The 27-year-old's relationship with Blues manager Jose Mourinho has been extremely strong - most notably over the two costly retrospective bans incurred by the forward since February - but it is showing signs of fracture. This despite public insistences to the contrary, with the pair embroiled in an ugly disagreement as the teams left the pitch at half-time in Tuesday's 4-0 Champions League win against Maccabi Tel Aviv .

Chelsea would be loathe to enter the transfer market in January when pedigree players are generally unavailable.

Mourinho has also admitted he has "no right" and no need to ask the board for funds in January.

Yet, there remains a need to qualify for next season's Champions League, with a top-four finish still considered the bare minimum requirement even in the wake of the club's poor start.

Given Costa has managed only seven goals in 10 months, with Mourinho making his frustrations heard, the need for striker reinforcements is clear.

Radamel Falcao has proved ineffective over his loan spell and Loic Remy has been reduced to a bit-part role.

Mourinho could push for a short-term fix for the remainder of the season before more established targets such as Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann and Napoli's Gonzalo Higuain are pursued in the summer.

To that end, Emmanuel Adebayor's availability as a free agent makes him an option, with the Togo forward having worked under Mourinho at Real Madrid.

Former Manchester United striker Robin van Persie has failed to settle at Fenerbahce and could be made available on loan.

Chelsea's rivals Arsenal will almost certainly spend at the turn of the year after Arsene Wenger revealed that he is looking to strengthen his squad in January, with the priority being a defensive midfielder to cover his current injury problems in the position.

The Frenchman is without Francis Coquelin for 12 weeks with a medial knee ligament complaint and Mikel Arteta for around a month because of calf damage.

Wenger has turned to Mathieu Flamini and Calum Chambers to plug the gap but, when the transfer window reopens, he will be on the lookout for a signing.

"We are in a position where we want to do something. If I find the right quality, I will do something," said the manager.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 27, 2015, with the headline 'Chelsea contemplating new striker amid Costa concerns'. Print Edition | Subscribe