A major new name has been put forward to solve Arsenal’s lack of strength in depth up front, with the Gunners sending scouts to watch Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa, according to reports on Wednesday. It is widely anticipated that Arsene Wenger will look to bring in a striker in the January transfer window to take the strain off of Olivier Giroud.
Wenger has suggested of late that he may not need to enter the market for a forward with Nicklas Bendtner showing improved signs recently and Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski and Yaya Sanogo either returned or due to return soon from injury. However, it would be taking a significant risk not to bring in another option, with none of that quartet inspiring confidence in their ability to lead the line for an extended period of time.
Both the Daily Mail and Goal.com now report that Arsenal will have scouts present to watch Costa in action twice in the coming days. Accelerating Arsenal’s interest is said to be their learning of the player’s reported buyout clause of around £30 million.
Arsenal are unlikely to be the only club monitoring a player who has excelled this season to fire Atletico to a place level on points with Barcelona at the top of La Liga and top their group en route to the Champions League knockout phase. The 25-year-old has scored 17 goals in 15 La Liga matches as well as four in three outings in the Champions League. Costa has also been at the center of a tug of war at international level, as he has decided to represent Spain, rather than the country of his birth, Brazil.
The possibility that Costa will increase his value with a strong showing at next year’s World Cup is cited as one of the reasons why Atletico will be loathed to lose him in January. Ultimately, of course, if Arsenal meet his release clause, the decision will rest with the player. And there appears little reason why Costa would want to switch Atletico for the Emirates in the middle of such a successful season for his side. He would also be cup-tied for the Champions League were he to make the move.
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For a while now, Arsenal have been strongly linked by another of Europe’s most in-form strikers, Kostas Mitroglou. The Olympiakos man has hit more than a goal a game in the Greek League, while he also struck a hat-trick in the Champions League against Anderlecht. The Daily Star claims that Arsenal will vie with Liverpool for a player they believe could be available for £7.5 million.
Olympiakos coach Michel has conceded that it will be difficult for the Greek champions to hold onto their star man.
“If he keeps on doing well, it will be hard to keep him,” he said, according to the Star. “We’ve known for some time that there has been interest from many clubs, but that’s only logical considering how well he has been doing lately.”
Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror has reported that Arsenal and Liverpool are also battling to secure the signature of Hoffenheim’s highly rated wide forward Kevin Volland. The Germany Under-21 international has struck seven goals in 15 appearances this campaign, but is also said to be attracting the interest of Bayern Munich.
A story has resurfaced that Arsenal are still monitoring Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas. The Spain captain has failed to return to the number one role at Madrid under Carlo Ancelotti, although he has been playing in cup and Champions League fixtures. Casillas has previously suggested that he would have to review the situation in January and both Arsenal and Manchester City are believed to be keen to know the 32-year-old’s decision.
Given the return to form this season of Wojciech Szczesny, it would be something of a surprise were Arsenal to commit what would doubtless need to be a significant financial package to bring Casillas to the Emirates Stadium.