Arsenal's bid to maintain their run at the Premier League title rests on a successful transfer window, an eventuality that would be close to fruition if the club were to sign Diego Costa.
Recent weeks have seen the Atletico Madrid sensation linked with the Gunners on a frequent basis, but the striker's £32 million release clause could prove to be a stumbling block in the deal.
The Mirror's Alex Richards says that Arsene Wenger is interested in bringing the Brazilian to the Emirates Stadium, but that his fee poses an issue as things stand.
Richards also reports Atleti's sporting director Jose Luis Perez Caminero as having told Spanish daily newspaper Marca:
"Diego Costa has re-signed with us. He isn't thinking about leaving."
Is Costa worth his £32 million price tag?
Los Rojiblancos are currently tied on points with Barcelona at the head of La Liga, and head into the latter half of a campaign with great chances of ending an 18-year drought away from the Spanish title.
Although it would appear that there's not much going in Arsenal's favour to facilitate a deal, the North Londoners must remain vigilant in pursuit of a player who would dramatically benefit their chances of bringing a close to their own trophy cabinet starvation.
After all, this is the same club still reaping the rewards of another La Liga acquisition, Mesut Ozil's development with the Gunners having gone swimmingly since his summer switch from Real Madrid.
Sky Sports' Peter Hall thinks the £32 million fee for Costa would prove very agreeable for Arsenal and others:
So Diego Costa's release clause is €40? Chelsea, and even Arsenal will be pay that Surely?— Peter Hall (@Pistolpeteh86) January 7, 2014
Although the South American's 19 league goals this term are no longer enough to keep him on top of the division's scoring charts, Costa has been the leader that Diego Simeone required following the departure of Radamel Falcao.
Even more so than Olivier Giroud, the 25-year-old has kept Atletico in title contention, but has held the forward line in a similar manner to his Arsenal counterpart.
It's a fine balancing act that Wenger must play this winter. Bring in too big a name and he risks seeing Giroud plummet back into the mediocrity shown for great stretches last season. Don't bring in sufficient back-up and the good foundations laid so far this term risk being for nought.
In Costa, the Premier League boss has the blend of a player whose talents would translate smoothly into the 4-2-3-1 system that's currently deployed at the Emirates Stadium.
Ozil's acquisition was a sign that Arsenal are ready to compete not just in the league table, but in the transfer market, too.
Though regarded as characteristically tight when it comes to player expenditure, plumping a big fee on Atleti's frontman would be worth it for a player whose wage demands, a massive chunk of any finances in a deal—wouldn't be out of reach.
One can debate the personal details and whether or not the player would come around to a move himself, but when it's down to Arsenal's vindication in a deal, there should be no doubt surrounding Costa's worth.