Much was expected from the 30-year-old when he arrived from Liverpool in January 2011 for what was a British record deal but the Spaniard fell well short of living up to his £50m price tag and, after a frustrating 3½ years at Stamford Bridge, appears to have played his last match for the club.
Last night, just hours after manager Jose Mourinho downplayed speculation he would leave, Chelsea confirmed the Spain striker would be joining AC Milan on loan until the expiration of his contract in 2016, subject to a medical.
Mourinho's more immediate concern is over the fitness of Diego Costa ahead of tonight's game against Everton. The striker, recruited from Atletico Madrid for £32m this summer, has scored in each of the club's opening league games but has not trained this week since suffering an injury in training. Should Mourinho be unable to name Costa in his starting XI then Didier Drogba will start against Everton.
"We must make a decision to select [Costa] or not," said Mourinho. "He has to try a light training session to see if the reaction is positive. If it is we will take him to Everton to play or be on the bench; if the reaction is not positive today then obviously we don't select him."
Roberto Martinez, the Everton manager, says he wants his players to show more resolve tonight, having surrendered leads against both Leicester City and Arsenal. "Unless you are at your top level, you can't really compete against Chelsea."