Arsene Wenger looks likely to be in the transfer market this summer - with a striker top of his shopping list after a recent spell of injuries left them in trouble in the attacking department.
It became evident to Wenger this month that his current striking options would not be enough to sustain a silverware attack domestically and on the continent - and a gluttony of names have been linked with a move in January.
He has bagged 23 goals in 20 appearances this campaign after stepping out from the shadows of Radamel Falcao - who left Los Colchoneros in the summer.
But it seems Wenger, despite conceding a striker may be needed in January, is not willing to splash an obscene amount of money on such a player.
Speaking to John Cross of The Mirror he stated this when quizzed on signing the talented 24-year-old:
“What, £145m?! Honestly, you want to keep your chances in the season at the best possible level.”
It seems that Wenger believes Costa’s release clause at Atletico Madrid is a far higher tag then we have been hearing over the past month or so.
Reports from Spain suggest that Costa would be allowed to talk to anyone interested at just £32 million - £113 million less than what Wenger says Atletico are expecting for the boy.
Regardless, in January a £32 million bid seems unlikely, let alone a £145 million world record one. Wenger is in the market for a cost effective and talented option - like a Berbatov for example, even if he did rubbish that talk yesterday.
Even if Arsenal did agree a fee - it means nothing. Liverpool did in pre-season, around £22.5 million was his release clause back then, but instead Costa renewed at Atletico.
And with his side still in the Champions League, fighting for La Liga glory and his international hopes with Spain potentially at risk - that would be the likely scenario again.
Wenger is therefore right to baulk - signing Costa in January is a non-starter in the real world.
image: © azuaje