Arsenal Transfer Rumours: Diego Costa Deal Would Make Gunners European Force

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistDecember 18, 2013

MADRID, SPAIN - DECEMBER 15:  Diego Costa of Club Atletico de Madrid celebrates after scoring Atletico's opening goal during the La Liga match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Valencia CF at Vicente Calderon Stadium on December 15, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Arsenal's hunt for a forward has seen the club linked with an extensive list of European powers in recent weeks, but according to Wayne Veysey of, the Gunners have zoned in on a January swoop for Diego Costa.

Signing the Brazilian-born striker would be an incredibly difficult deal to pull off given his importance to Atletico Madrid right now, not to mention the well-known difficulty that exists with luring players midway through a campaign.

ELCHE, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 30:  Diego Costa of Atletico de Madrid celebrates after scoring during the La Liga match between Elche FC and Atletico de Madrid at Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero on November 30, 2013 in Elche, Spain.  (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

However, Veysey reports that Costa is on a "relatively low wage" at Atletico, prompting Arsenal to already make contact over a potential transfer.

Having pulled off the once-unthinkable capture of Mesut Ozil, Arsenal's approach for Costa is a serious one, and if they manage to plant the Brazilian at the forefront of their attack, the Gunners would possess as lethal an attack as you could wish to find on the continent.

Veysey reports the Gunners will be on hand for Atletico's next two matches in order to scout the forward in depth, although his 21 goals in 20 starts this season, per Transfermarkt, already makes for easy reading.

Linking up alongside David Villa in attack this term, Costa has shown his worth as both hunter and gatherer, at times using his stocky frame to hold possession so that the likes of Tiago and Koke can claim a foothold going forward but more often providing the finishing touch himself.

Matteo Bonetti of Al Jazeera recently described Costa as a "behemoth":

Given his power and endeavour, one can easily envision the South American leading the line by himself at Arsenal, although he certainly seems to be benefiting from the added company at Atletico.

The financial details of the deal are far from unmanageable, too, as Veysey adds:

The Atletico spearhead signed a new contract in August that extended his agreement until 2018 but it is understood a fresh buy-out clause of €38 million (£32.1m) was inserted in the deal. 

Wenger is well aware of the difficulties in landing A-list options in the notoriously problematic January window, when the big clubs are reluctant to sell their best players. But he is prepared to push the boat out to land a big name as the Premier League leaders bid to maintain their title challenge.

At that sum, Costa wouldn't be on Ozil's level in terms of cost but has the potential to rival the German's first-team impact.

Gunnerblog hinted in September that Costa was, in fact, the man Arsenal should be chasing:

Olivier Giroud has so far held Wenger's front line with aplomb this season, but after netting 10 goals, he is now without a goal in six games and showing signs of the weariness many predicted would come as a result of his heightened responsibilities.

Costa has the technical ability to link with the likes of Ozil and Santi Cazorla, he has the pace Giroud does not offer, and he arguably offers a greater all-round threat than the former Montpellier man.

Compared to the rest of the Premier League's big guns, Arsenal do look understaffed up top.

Manchester United have Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck; Chelsea have Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto'o and Demba Ba; Liverpool boast the talents of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge while Manchester City's attack is positively heaving with class.

In comparison, the North Londoners look light and could do with offering Giroud some competition for playing time, in a move that would not only bring in more talent but perhaps get the best out of the Frenchman as well.

Of course, obstacles to the deal include Atleti's push for a La Liga title and whether Costa wants to jump ship midseason. The striker is also pushing to become a Spanish international, undoubtedly better served by playing in the country's top flight.

However, Wenger might be able to persuade Costa's representatives that his future is best served at Arsenal, which would surely become a Premier League and European juggernaut with the Brazilian on board.