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On the Diego Costa rumour

Denis Doyle

One big transfer's all wrapped up, but still the rumour mill goes a-churning. And the latest one that's flying around is a doozy. The Times (and several other sites besides) are reporting that Jose Mourinho's summer striker target is Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa, who's currently scoring at the implausible rate of 19 in 17 in La Liga. They're also reporting that Thibaut Courtois might be included as a sweetener to get Atleti to budge from the 25-year-old's £32 million release clause.

There's plenty of reason to be skeptical. In the first place, it appears that the story originates from the Star and has simply been recycled by the bigger papers until it took on a veneer of credibility. In the second, we should always be wary of anyone claiming to know what a club is planning in the upcoming months, a lesson I imagine we all learned thanks to that infamous 'Guardian exclusive' a couple of years ago.

There are also reasons to be skeptical of Diego Costa as well. His stats this season look profoundly unsustainable and have essentially come out of nowhere; buying during the best streak of a player's career is a fine way to ensure that you're overpaying for the transfer. I'd go so far as to argue that Thibaut Courtois is actually more valuable than Costa, and I'm having difficulty figuring out the logic behind this transfer making much sense to the Blues -- 'Chelsea need striker, Atletico like Courtois, FFP!' -- seems superficial even for newspaper journalists.

Long story short: I'm not buying it. Although it would be wonderful to reunite Oscar with his grizzled elder brother, and it'd be nice to have a striker, a Courtois and cash for Costa summertime switch just doesn't make a whole lot of sense for us.

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