As Copa Libertadores champions, Brazilian club Palmeiras earned the right to fly to Qatar to play in the Club World Cup. They hoped to at least put up a good fight against European champions Bayern Munich in the final match to decide who are the “world champions”. But they could not even make it past CONCACAF representatives Tigres UANL, losing the semifinal match 1-0 after a penalty goal from French striker André-Pierre Gignac.
A lot of soul searching has began since then, as well as several rumours that might be indications of where the club’s future lies — or just good ol’ “throw it on the wall and see if it sticks” type of behaviour. The latter may be the case with the recent news from Sky Sports of Palmeiras being close to bringing former Chelsea striker Diego Costa back to Brazil, in what would be his first time playing in his home country as a professional player.
It makes sense since Diego is out in the market as a free agent since last month, after being released by Atlético Madrid. Sky Sports’ report claims he has been ‘in talks’ with teams from England, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. There was even a top-six Premier League who offered him a half-season deal, but the contract was turned down.
He is also a Palmeiras supporter, which makes it for a nice story. Connecting the dots, “it was written”, stars aligning and whatever else floats your boat.
However, this neat narrative might not carry an ounce of truth, according to Globo Esporte. All thanks to money, as it is often the case in these stories.
In Diego’s circumstances, Palmeiras are no longer too keen on breaking the bank for players like him. While they are one of the richest clubs in Latin America and they might have the financial power to bring him to Brazil, their transfer philosophy has turned to “smart signings” over bombastic ones. And so, the probability of Diego moving to Palmeiras have been described as “highly unlikely” by club insiders.
This does not mean Brazil’s doors are closed for Diego. Recently Atlético Mineiro, mostly known amidst Chelsea’s fanbase as the club who broke Nathan out of the “loan cycle” with the Blues, hired one of our most transfer-linked players in Hulk. Adding Diego to their squad would certainly boost their chances of bringing silverware to Minas Gerais under head coach Jorge Sampaoli, while denying other Brazilian teams from building an offensive sector as powerful as Galo’s.