A number of big-name strikers have struggled to make an impact at Atletico Madrid simply for not being Diego Costa.
Since the firebrand centre-forward left the Vicente Calderon for Chelsea in the summer of 2014, Mario Mandzukic, Raul Jimenez and Jackson Martinez have come and gone while Kevin Gameiro is the latest to have fallen out of favour under Diego Simeone.
The 30-year-old has made just two substitute appearances in an admittedly injury-interrupted start to the La Liga season, managing a combined total of just 27 minutes.
And with the 2014 champions realising that the best replacement for Diego Costa is Diego Costa himself, the fans’ favourite returning to the Spanish capital from Chelsea after three years away, Gameiro’s chances of a renaissance at Atletico look slim.
Madrid to Merseyside?
The Frenchman’s lack of game time in the lead up to the Russia 2018 World Cup, then, has given Premier League side Everton hope that Gameiro can be lured to Goodison Park in January.
The Mirror reported that the Toffees are chasing Gameiro, surplus to requirements at Atletico, who may be available for £20 million - £15 million less than they paid Sevilla for the speedy striker’s services in the summer of 2016.
And it appears that Gameiro may have wasted one of his last chances to impress Simeone and save his Atletico career. The former PSG frontman was handed a rare start in Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Qarabag but made next to no impact during a dismal goalless draw in Azerbaijan that leaves Simeone’s side in genuine fear for their progression.
Gameiro failed to muster a single shot on goal in his 71 minutes on the pitch and tallied the fewest touches of an outfield player in Atletico colours. Simone won’t have been impressed.
Everton’s hopes of striking a summer deal for a man who could solve their goalscoring problems have just received another potential boost.