Diego Costa: Would Brazilian Striker Be a Success at Arsenal?

James McNicholas@@jamesmcnicholasFeatured ColumnistApril 1, 2013

MADRID, SPAIN - DECEMBER 1: Diego Costa of Club Atletico de Madrid controls the ball during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Club Atletico de Madrid at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on December 1, 2012 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Diego Costa is a man in vogue. Atletico Madrid's Brazilian forward has scored eight goals in his last 11 games.

That run of form earned him a call-up to the Brazilian national team for the friendlies against Italy and Russia. Costa came on during the first of those games to make his international debut, replacing the experienced Fred as a substitute.

Now, according to The Express, he's being linked with a possible move to join Arsenal in the Premier League.

Finally, Diego Costa is making headlines for all the right reasons.

Diego Costa is a player who has long attracted controversy. It is sometimes said that Arsenal are guilty of being too nice; that they lack a competitive edge. Costa would remedy that immediately.

There is a nasty side to his game that comes from a burning desire to win. Spanish newspaper AS dubbed him "Dr Jekyll and Mr Costa" due to his controversial on-field antics. As The Guardian's Sid Lowe wrote, Costa treats "football as love and war – a territory where all is fair." He is a far cry from the genteel manners of Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud.

Costa's profile as a pantomime villain would be even higher were it not for his headline-grabbing strike partner. Understandably, Diego Costa has found himself occasionally overshadowed by the goalscoring heroics of Atletico's other South American sensation: Radamel Falcao.

However, all great goalscorers require a foil. Alan Shearer would not have fired Blackburn Rovers to the Premier League title without the support of Chris Sutton. Michael Owen's impressive England record was built on the back of Emile Heskey's work-rate. At Arsenal, Thierry Henry would not have become the club's record goalscorer without the assists and assistance of one Dennis Bergkamp.

The greatest tribute you can pay to Costa is that he has earned the respect of his rivals.

Valencia coach Ernesto Valverde is in no doubt about the contribution of Diego Costa to Atletico's success. Speaking before the weekend's match between Valencia and Atletico, Valverde said:

Diego Costa is in great form. He can lead the team, as can Falcao, but he also has the ability to not lose the ball.

Perhaps he is even a bit better than the Colombian.

It's a ringing endorsement of the Brazilian's talents, and one that will have Arsenal fans drooling at the prospect of seeing him arrive in North London.

Diego Costa could play either as the lone striker of as a support player, coming from deep as both Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere have done on occasion this season.

He would also allow Arsenal the option of switching to play two upfront. If he could dovetail as effectively with Olivier Giroud as he has with Falcao, then he'd be a fantastic addition.

His physicality is well-suited to the Premier League: He isn't the sort of player to shirk a challenge. Like Gilberto Silva before him, he does not meet the stereotype of a Brazilian footballer, as his game is as much about graft as guile.

The biggest barrier to Arsenal's quest to sign him is the fact that Atletico will be loathe to let him go, especially in a summer when they look set to lose talisman Falcao.

If Atletico can be convinced to part with Diego Costa, Arsenal will be lucky beneficiaries. He would add flair, finesse and fight to the Arsenal attack.