Paul Merson warns Antonio Conte will miss key player despite new Chelsea signing

Arsenal legend Paul Merson suggests that Alvaro Morata could take a while to fill Diego Costa's shoes in the Chelsea team

Chelsea striker Diego Costa Photo: The Sport Review

Paul Merson believes Chelsea will miss Diego Costa next season despite signing Alvaro Morata to replace the controversial striker.

The Premier League champions are expected to sell Costa in the summer transfer window amid reported interest from Serie A giants AC Milan and Spanish side Atletico Madrid.

Indeed, Antonio Conte is thought to have informed the 28-year-old centre-forward that he is surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge despite scoring 20 times last term.

Chelsea have already signed Spain international Morata in a £58m deal from La Liga giants Real Madrid to improve their attacking options ahead of the new season.

The former Juventus striker scored 15 times in 26 appearances last season following his return to The Bernabeu in a £29m deal last summer.

However, Arsenal legend Merson has his doubts about whether Morata can initially replace Costa’s goal void should the Brazilian-born forward leave the English champions.

“I think they’ll miss Diego Costa, especially as Alvaro Morata is settling in initially,” Merson told Sky Sports.

Chelsea won the Premier League title with two games to spare last term in Conte’s first season in charge of the west London club.

The Blues have also signed Manchester City goalkeeper Willy Caballero, AS Roma defender Antonio Rudiger and AS Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko this summer.

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