Arsenal to offer Brazilian playmaker a route out of Ukrainian violence - report

Emirates Inside

Shakhtar Donetsk playmaker Douglas Costa may be looking to leave Ukraine – and Arsenal are reportedly interested.

The conflict in Ukraine rages on after the shooting of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) , and with fighting breaking out in Donetsk on Monday, the chaos seems unlikely to stop for some time yet. This political upheaval is threatening Shakhtar, with six players currently refusing to return to Ukraine through fear for their lives.

One of those is former Brazilian Under-20 international Douglas Costa, who has been with Mircea Lucescu's side for four-and-a-half years since his 2010 move from Gremio. The talented playmaker, 23, has previously been linked with moves to Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United, with all three believed to be impressed with Costa's speed, dribbling and flair.

Yet now, it's Arsenal and even North London rivals Tottenham who are monitoring Costa's situation, after he took to Instagram to confirm that he, along with compatriots Alex Teixeira and Dentinho, are currently training in Switzerland in order to avoid the unrest in Ukraine.

"I want to clarify that I am not abandoning the club. I'm afraid," said Costa. "Everything we read, see or hear is that the situation in the country is quite complicated. We do not know under what conditions we can train much less where to play."

"I have no problem at Shakhtar. I like the club, the people, the city, but I'm afraid of other conflict situations. I regret that all this is happening. But this time, we all run the risk of life if we are in the region."

Costa may well want to stay at Shakhtar as he likes the club, but he's already made it clear that he won't be in Donetsk whilst the violence continues. With that in mind, Arsenal are believed to be looking at offering Costa an escape route. Arsene Wenger has already landed Alexis Sanchez this summer, and could see the Chilean as a centre forward after revealing that he doesn't intend to sign another striker.

Instead, Costa could come in on either flank to add even more firepower to this Arsenal side - but negotiations with Shakhtar could be difficult, as whilst they acknowledge Costa's concerns, they don't want to let their star player leave the club.

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch