There's been a lot of chatter these past few days and weeks regarding one Diego Costa and Arsenal. At face value, the marriage between the two makes sense. A guy performing extraordinarily well at a club known for producing extraordinarily good talent, on relatively low wages considering his output and relative value, being linked with a club who's trying to hang on to its lead in the league, can offer significantly higher wages, currently only has one legit starting option at center forward and just proved this past summer it can spend with the rest of the big boys.
So it really shouldn't shock most observers of all things Arsenal that the rumor mill fired up the links between Costa and Arsenal today. And even less of a shock is that the three sources are Bleacher Report, Goal.com and the Metro. Hardly three sources that you want to fall back on when you run and tell your friends and mates that the Arsenal are definitely in on Costa, which is why I'm not even bothering to link their stories to this post.
Now all that said, here's the conundrum with the Costa links. If the rumors persist, what we're about to see here over the course of the next six weeks will not be dissimilar to what we saw this past summer with the link to Luis Suarez. Here's a guy who, by all accounts, is a massive bastard and generally disliked by everyone who's played against him or seen him play. Basically, Costa is the soccer equivalent to A.J. Pierzynski.
However, what's not up for dispute is how he's tearing up La Liga this season. As it stands now, he's tied with Cristiano Ronaldo for league goals scored (17 in 16 matches; the next closest goal scorers have ten to their name), and he's easily replaced the production Radamel Falcao left behind when he moved to AS Monaco. Further, Costa's chipped in four goals and an assist in three Champions League matches for Atlético Madrid. He's large (6 ft. 2 inches and nearly 190 lbs.), in his prime years (he's 25 years old) and, from reports, is much more agile both with and without the ball at his feet than Olivier Giroud while able to produce the same sort of hold up play our tired Frenchman provides. If he were to arrive, Arsenal would be a serious threat for many seasons to come given the club hold on to current players while strategically adding pieces down the road.
Of course, Atlético would be far from criticized if it were to do everything in its power to hold onto Costa this winter. At the moment, they're tied with Barcelona at the top of the table and qualified for the Champions League knockout rounds. Losing their main scoring option would severely diminish their ability to hold off Barcelona and advance past AC Milan, their opponent in the Round of 16. Arsenal, knowing Costa wouldn't be eligible for their future Champions League matches, would be right to value Costa a bit lower in January as opposed to the summer - that is, if they had a desire to sell him in the first place.
Whether or not Atlético would accept a potential lower value for him in January, knowing what's at stake for them this season, is a far different story. But, like most things surrounding potential Arsenal transfers, this is one to certainly keep a close eye on. I'd just prefer it if a few more credible sources came out with links between the two parties.