According to the Independent, Arsenal looks set to make a bid to sign Douglas Costa from Ukrainian giants Shakhtar Donetsk. The 23-year-old Brazilian attacking midfielder has long been a target by a multitude of Europe’s largest clubs, but after recent political turmoil, in addition to the Malaysian Airlines crash just 38 miles from Donetsk, Costa and his five other Brazilian teammates have refused to return to the region currently occupied by pro-Russian rebels.
The opportunity to snag one of football’s hottest young prospects for a cut-price has alerted Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger, who has already splashed over £66 million on four signings so far. The addition of Costa, who can play on the wings or just behind a striker, could possibly mean that Costa Rican striker Joel Campbell would be sent on loan for the fourth straight season, with AC Milan the most likely destination. For Wenger to send Campbell out on loan would suggest that he plans to play new signing Alexis Sánchez in a more central role, leaving Campbell surplus to requirements.
But this rumor, which originated from a Italian-based source before being picked up by the British press, has not been confirmed by sources close to either club and lacks the strength seen by previous rumors this summer that resulted in a completed transfer. Granted, word of Wenger’s interest in Costa has been well documented over the years, with a formal bid having been rebuffed in 2011. However, this time around, more evidence will need to be presented before it appears eminent, meaning that the credibility of this rumor earns a 5 out of 10 rating.
Adding to the seeming unlikeliness of this transfer is the breadth of Arsenal players that occupy similar positions to Costa. With Santi Cazorla, Alexis Sánchez, Theo Walcott, Mesut Özil, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and many others already competing for the three spots behind the main striker, it appears that Arsenal simply doesn’t require another attacking midfielder. There is no doubting Costa’s promising talent, but as far as improving Arsenal’s squad, this deal would earn a 3 out of 10 rating. Despite Arsenal’s free-spending habits this summer, resources are still limited. And with a significant need for a defensive midfielder, many would prefer those resources spent on problem areas.
Perhaps the most unlikely aspect to this story involves the connection between Costa’s signing and Joel Campbell’s loan away from the club. As of now, Campbell appears to be the most likely understudy to first-choice striker Olivier Giroud. With the yet-to-score Yaya Sanogo as the only other genuine striker in the squad, Campbell’s inclusion appears to be a necessary component for Arsenal’s success. And after an incredibly successful World Cup with Costa Rica after a fruitful loan spell with Olympiakos, Campbell has likely paid his dues towards earning a chance with his parent club. Recently, the 22-year-old joined Arsenal on their preseason training camp in the Austrian Alps, which signals that, at the very least, he is being considered as an option for now. Whether or not he has gained Wenger’s confidence is yet to be seen, but given the above reasons, the Costa and Campbell deals earn a 4 out of 10 rating for their likelihood of taking place.