In the past few days, Diego Costa has hit the headlines over his transfer saga with Chelsea. The striker is currently in self-imposed exile in Brazil, as he tries to get a move back to Atletico Madrid.
This week’s Forgotten Blue is also a striker was involved in a long and drawn-out saga with Chelsea, but for entirely different reasons.
That man is Adrian Mutu.
A clinical goal scorer in his native Romania, Mutu spent a few years in the Serie A at Inter Milan, Verona, and Parma. In his lone season at Parma, the Romanian scored 18 goals in 31 league appearances.
His goal scoring pedigree earned him a move to Chelsea, signing for around £15.8m in 2003. He was one of new owner Roman Abramovich’s first signings at the club.
He made a good start to life in West London, scoring four goals in his first three games. Mutu’s form started to slow down, and he ended the 2003/04 season with ten goals in all competitions.
Under new boss Jose Mourinho, Mutu only made two appearances, before failing a drugs test for cocaine in September 2004. He received a seven-month ban from football and was released by Chelsea the following month.
The next few years would see both player and club embroiled in a dispute about compensation and fees.
Despite being banned from football, Mutu returned to Italy and signed for Juventus in January 2005. He only spent a year in Turin, and following the relegation of Juventus in 2006, he signed for Fiorentina.
He would spend the next several seasons at the club, scoring 54 goals in 112 appearances for the side. But like at Chelsea, Mutu failed a doping test and received a six-month ban and was suspended by Fiorentina. By February 2011, he was back in the squad.
The next five years of his career would be spent around Europe. Spells at Cesena, Ajaccio, and Petrolul followed, before a move to Asia materialised. The Romanian had a short stint at Indian side Pune City, before returning to his homeland of Romania to sign for ASA Targu Mures.
During the rest of his playing career, the case between Mutu and Chelsea was still going back and forth. The last development in the case came in 2015, where The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that Mutu was the only party who had to pay compensation to Chelsea.
A dispute that spanned over a decade, let’s just hope that it doesn’t take that long for Diego Costa to get his move.