The Atleti man has been in sparkling form – could Tottenham have moved for him?
Diego Costa may only now be making headlines off the back of his match-winning performance for Atletico Madrid against a Real Madrid side featuring Gareth Bale on his home debut, but rewind a few months and it could have been a different story for the striker and Tottenham.
Back then the 24-year-old was rumoured to be among the transfer targets favoured by Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, with the player revealing, months later, that a bid of £20 million had even been tabled.
Meanwhile, Tottenham were in the throes of the Bale saga, and investigating a series of potential new additions to bolster their forward line.
In the end, Daniel Levy secured a deal for Roberto Soldado, off the back of the forward’s 24 goals in La Liga. Costa, by contrast, had racked up a commendable ten league strikes, with a more concerning statistic being the 12 yellow cards he accumulated over the last campaign.
Fast-forward to the start of the current campaign and while the former Valencia man has found the net just twice for Spurs thus far, the Brazilian is being talked up as a late addition to the Selecao’s World Cup squad following a stupendous eight goals in seven La Liga appearances.
What’s all the more interesting is that those eight goals have come from just 21 shots, giving him a better shots to goals ratio than Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Naturally, hindsight is a wonderful thing and on paper the move for Soldado over Costa or any other potential target was a no-brainer – but why would it have had to be one or the other?
Prior to the close of the summer transfer window and with Soldado on board, Spurs were reportedly keen to land another forward.
After all, with Adebayor disinterest in life at White Hart Lane and Jermain Defoe seemingly spared for midweek cup duty, Andre Villas-Boas had a definite gap in his squad.
At the time, he had identified a potential target in Zenit St Petersburg striker Hulk but after balking at the Russian club’s demands of £10 million for a season-long loan, Tottenham opted to give up their search.
But why not go for Costa? The Brazilian had already expressed a personal interest in a move to Liverpool and while a new contract was signed with Atletico in August, this deal may have been put in place by the Madrid club with a view to ensuring they received the best fee available.
With Tottenham’s success so far built on strong defence and a creative, goalscoring midfield unit, an up-and-comer like the Brazilian could have been the final piece of the puzzle.
Spurs fans may have been watching the Madrid derby with a painful sense of what if. Problem is, they were probably looking at the wrong player.
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