Frank Lampard has admitted that Chelsea would find it “very difficult” to replace Diego Costa should the confrontational forward leave Stamford Bridge this summer.
Costa has revealed that he intends to return to former club Atletico Madrid having been informed by Blues coach Antonio Conte that he is not in his plans for next season.
The Spanish international scored 20 Premier League goals last season as Chelsea secured the title, and Lampard has warned that finding a worthy successor could prove challenging.
“He’s a fantastic striker and we all saw that last season and since he’s been at Chelsea,” Lampard told Sky Sports. “He would be very difficult to replace, there’s no doubt about it.
“I don’t know where Diego Costa’s mind is, whether he wants to leave or not, that’s all speculation. One thing that is for sure, is that you’ve got a great striker in him.
“So, if he stays, brilliant, if he doesn’t, then you’ll have to go to the top end of the world’s strikers to replace him. He’s an all-round physical presence that also has the quality to get goals, that’s not easy to find in the modern day.”
Chelsea have been strongly linked with a move for prolific former striker Romelu Lukaku, who has excelled at Everton. And Lampard has backed the powerful Belgian as a possible alternative to Costa.
“I know Romelu from playing alongside him, it was early on in his career and he probably didn’t get the chances in his first spell at the club,” he said.
“He’s certainly developed to a huge degree since he left the club, Romelu would certainly be a good option. The only thing Chelsea have to look at is the inflated market that is around now, it makes it very tough.
“In terms of an all-round striker, he’s proven to have scored goals at Everton, but there are others. I’m sure they’ll try and get a player in the same mode as Diego Costa that can give them a physical presence and 20 goals a season.”