Arsenal are reportedly considering signing Diego Costa following his departure from Brazilian side Atletico Mineiro, despite upsetting supporters during his Chelsea days
The 33-year-old is a free agent after leaving Brazilian outfit Atletico Mineiro and it’s believed he wants a return to European football.
Despite his advancing years, Costa remains a useful player and could offer Mikel Arteta’s side some firepower and presence up front.
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Their leading scorer in the competition is midfielder Emile Smith Rowe with eight, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette have managed just seven between them.
Costa isn’t as prolific as he was during his Chelsea days – finding the back of the net just five times during his spell in Brazil – but his physicality will offer Arsenal a new dimension.
He’ll also have great service around him, benefitting from the youth of Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard.
Most importantly, though, Costa will give Arsenal the experience they need to keep Arteta’s project ticking along nicely.
The Gunners want to build a youthful team with a handful of veterans, yet they’re in serious danger of losing several golden oldies.
Lacazette is out of contract in June, Cedric Soares is a target for Atletico Madrid and Aubameyang’s future has looked in doubt since he was stripped of the captaincy last month.
Arsenal signed plenty of youngsters last summer – including Ben White and Aaron Ramsdale – but they still need to bring in a veteran every now and again.
“Internally we aligned around a plan to put together a squad with some of the best young talent in world football, balanced with our more experienced players to lead and support them,” Arsenal’s CEO Vinai Venkatesham told the club’s website in December.
“We believe with Mikel and his coaching staff we can develop our young squad into something special.”
On last summer’s transfer window, Venkatesham added: “We signed young players, but intentionally young players who have plenty of experience and character.”
Whether it is for six months or longer, offering a short-term deal to Costa doesn’t seem like a terrible decision by the Gunners.
The only problem – and it’s quite a significant one – is the former Spain international doesn’t have the best of relationships with the Arsenal faithful.
Costa was involved in an infamous spat with Arsenal defenders Gabriel Paulista and Laurent Koscielny during a 2-0 victory for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in September 2015.
Many believe the Spaniard should’ve been sent off during the game, which saw Gabriel dismissed by referee Mike Dean. He was later given a three-game ban for his behaviour.
“Costa gets away with a yellow, it’s disgusting,” said then Gunners boss Arsene Wenger. “Look at what happened with Koscielny before… he hits him twice in the face. It’s just not acceptable.”
Arsenal fans won’t want to see the ex-Blues man come through the Emirates door but, as history tells us, supporters are very forgiving once a player starts delivering the goods.
If Arteta wants a new striker and some experience without breaking the bank, Costa is the ideal candidate. He’ll need to hit the ground running, though, if he’s to gain the fans’ trust.