Diego Costa’s time in Spain could have been wholly different had the future Chelsea striker allowed himself to be led astray by one-time Arsenal prospect Quincy Owusu-Abeyie.
The Amsterdam-born winger was once seen as of the Gunners’ brightest prospects, having moved to North London as a schoolboy in 2002.
But a poor attitude and off-the-field problems saw Quincy jettisoned by Arsene Wenger in 2006, with the Ghana international moving to Spartak Moscow.
A couple of years later and Quincy was on the move again, signing for Celta Vigo in Spain on loan.
It was here that the Arsenal star-that-never-was first encountered Diego Costa.
According to extracts from the book “Diego Costa: The Art of War” by Fran Guillen, the pair struck up quite a friendship, with Costa often defending his teammate from hard tackles by opposition defenders.
Speaking in the sections posted on The Guardian website, teammates Antonio Nunez and Roberto Lago both recall the pair’s bond, though they struggled to understand how a friendship could have been formed in the first place.
“They were always together,” Nunez said.
“The rest of us couldn’t understand how they communicated, because one of them could only speak Portuguese and the other stuck to English all the time.”
Lago explained the system the pair had in place: “Diego told me how they did it: ‘I don’t speak English so we use sign language instead.’”
But despite the closeness of their bond, Lago also revealed many players in the squad were concerned by the pairing: “We were actually worried that he would be led astray by Quincy, who was a bit of a rebel.”
At the time Costa was young and highly impressionable star, who had gone to Celta on loan from Atletico Madrid to gain more first-team experience in Spain’s second tier.
Quincy, by contrast, was already something of a troublemaker, having been released by Ajax at an early age and later sold on by Arsenal having previously been involved in numerous incidents.
The most notable of these came when the player was arrested following an incident at a PFA dinner – as reported by the Evening Standard at the time.
Most recently with Boavista in Portugal, the 29-year-old had his contract with the club terminated back in February and has remained unattached ever since.
Had he held more sway over Costa who knows, Chelsea may have looked like an altogether different beast today.