Nikola Vlasic suggests Everton were keeping shirt number free for Diego Costa this summer

Chelsea's Brazilian-born Spanish striker Diego Costa gestures to the crowd as he's substituted during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Sunderland at Stamford...

Nikola Vlasic has seemingly hinted that Everton were confident that they would be able to bring Diego Costa to Goodison Park in the summer.

Nikola Vlasic of Everton scores his sides second goal during the UEFA Europa League group E match between Everton FC and Apollon Limassol at Goodison Park on September 28, 2017 in...

Nikola Vlasic has suggested to Croatian outlet 24 Sata that part of the reason that he picked the shirt number he did when he made the move to Everton in the summer was because the Toffees were keeping the number 19 jersey free for Diego Costa.

The Daily Mirror reports that Everton were keen on signing Costa during the summer transfer window and his days at Chelsea certainly appeared to be numbered despite helping the Blues to the Premier League title last season.

Diego Costa of Chelsea celebrates scoring his sides first goal during the Emirates FA Cup Final between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on May 27, 2017 in London, England.

However, nothing seemed to come of the reports linking Costa with a move to Goodison Park, and The Telegraph reported back in September that he had agreed a £57 million move to former club Atletico Madrid, which will come into effect in January.

But it appears that Everton were optimistic about their chances of bringing Costa in, as Vlasic suggested that when he joined the club, Costa's preferred shirt number was being kept free for the Spain international. 

"No. 27 was free, I wanted 8 but Ross Barkley wears it, while the club was keeping 19 for Diego Costa," he told 24 Sata, in comments that have been translated by the Mirror.

Chelsea's Brazilian-born Spanish striker Diego Costa gestures to the crowd as he's substituted during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Sunderland at Stamford...

Ronald Koeman is probably wondering right now what could have been had he been able to bring Costa in, as there is no question that not having a marquee striker is one of the main reasons for their poor start to the season that ultimately resulted in the Dutchman being sacked earlier this week.

And while Costa may not have fixed every issue, his form at Chelsea certainly suggests that he could have made a massive difference to the Toffees' side this term had they managed to get a deal across the line. 

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