Liverpool appear to be on their way to a fifth purchase in this summer’s transfer market, having submitted a $32 million (£21m) offer to Atletico Madrid for striker Diego Costa.
The bid is widely believed to have triggered the 24 year old’s release clause meaning the Reds may soon have a fifth top striker on their books come next week.
No transfer swoop would be complete, of course, without its fair share of controversy.
The first potential stumbling block in the Reds move is the aforementioned release clause. While many sources ‘believe’ it has been triggered, no one is totally convinced that such a clause actually exists.
If there is a clause and Liverpool have triggered it, then Costa is headed to the Kop pending personal terms and a medical.
If there is no such clause, then the issue is whether Los Colchoneros are willing to part with the Brazilian marksman.
The BBC and Sky Sports claim Atletico boss Diego Simeone has hinted that Costa could be allowed to move following David Villa’s arrival from Barcelona. The signing of Leo Baptistao from Rayo Vallecano only helps this point, as some believe the mere presence of the two arrivals may render Costa surplus goods.
But The Guardian notes that as of late Thursday, Atleti are denying having received an offer telling Spanish newspaper AS that the striker was not for sale.
If this feels like a bargaining standpoint that’s because it probably is.
As for Liverpool, pre-existing issues have (justifiably) made them weary of speaking to journalists in any sort of direct manner. Manager Brendan Rodgers did note earlier this week, however, that the club would bring in new signings if they were of “the right quality.”
Which makes sense, because bringing in players who are crap tends not to sit well with supporters.
So, is Diego Costa the right quality?
The powerful (6’2″) striker enjoyed a breakout season last year, firing 10 goals in 37 La Liga appearances and 20 in 44 games in all competitions. His style is raw and built on power.
He likes to drive at defenses, bullying them through the use of sheer athleticism and desire. He is a hustler. He breathes down the neck of opponents while on defense and selflessly drops deep to operate as a second striker in support of the front line.
Costa lacks the typical technique and agility seen in most Brazilian footballers. Instead, he is the product of a street soccer upbringing that didn’t see him play for an organized team until he was 16 years old when he found himself fed up with not being able to afford to take girls on dates. Thus, his late-blooming breakout.
In short, he is lightning in a bottle. It’s a fury that is both his blessing and his downfall with Costa prone to fiery outbursts and, at times, overly-focusing on winding opposing players up rather than winning the match.
It’s a temperament that many will note Liverpool already has in the likes of Luis Suarez, Iago Aspas, and, to some extent, Daniel Sturridge. Some feel that the bid for Costa could indicate Liverpool’s desire for the Brazilian to succeed Suarez although higher-ups at Anfield scoff at the notion.
Either way, if Costa makes his way to Liverpool competition for spots up front will be fierce.
A drastic difference to where Liverpool found themselves at the beginning of last year.