Chelsea are ready to battle with fellow Londoners Arsenal for the signature of La Liga’s top scorer Diego Costa.
The English daily Mirror reports that Costa, who was subject of a £20m bid from Liverpool during the summer transfer window, is considered by Chelsea as a less expensive substitute to AS Monaco striker Radamel Falcao and has impressed Mourinho with a number of unassailable performances in the Champions League and La Liga for Atletico.
Arsenal have also been running for the signature of Costa, 25, in recent weeks and reports suggest the club had sent chief scout Steve Rowley to Spain to watch the Brazilian ace in action during Atletico’s Copa Del Rey match against Sant Andreu.
Both Chelsea and Arsenal are in market for top notch striker as this is the most turbulent area for both and see Costa as the perfect match for their requirement.
Curiously enough, Brazil born Costa has never played professionally in his country, signing in 2007 with Atletico Madrid and being loaned to several teams also in Spain before returning three years later, becoming a key offensive figure. In 2009, 2009 Costa was sold to Real Valladolid as part of the deal that sent keeper Sergio Assenjo in the opposite direction, with the transfer including a buy-back option that could be activated by Atlético at the end of that season.
In 2010, Costa returned to the Vicente Calderon, initially as a backup for Kun Aguero and Diego Forlan. But Costa has truly been a revelation this season as the departure of Radamel Falcao has made him the vocal point of Atletico’s attack – alongside David Villa. Costa, along with Ronaldo, is the top scorer of La Liga this season.
Jose Mourinho recently admitted his frustration with current striker force as the quartet of Etoo, Torres, Demba and Andre Schurrle is struggling for form and goals.
Arsenal on the other hand, is over dependent on their French striker Olivier Giroud as Nicklas Bendtner does not have the enough quality to fill the void. Any injury to Giroud will brutally expose the attacking area of Arsene Wenger’s side and the Frenchman is keen to feel the gap either in January or in summer. his new contract includes a £32 million release clause according to the Evening Standard which is well within Wenger’s budget.
In a bid to end speculation over his future the 25-year-old recently signed a new deal with Atletico Madrid to keep him in the Spanish capital until 2018. The attacker however, is more likely to move in the summer than January as Atletico are at the top (jointly) of the table and into the second round of Champions League as well.