Liverpool have famously seen a number of our transfer targets poached from under our feet in recent years – most notably Alexis Sanchez (via the Mirror), Mohamed Salah (via The Telegraph) and Gylfi Sigurdsson (via Daily Mail).
Diego Costa, now with Chelsea, also came close to moving to Anfield from Atletico Madrid back in 2013. As the Liverpool Echo tells us, the Reds triggered the player’s release clause, only for him to instead sign a new contract and then move to Stamford Bridge twelve months.
The story has partially inspired a new book by Fran Gillen, which is titled “Diego Costa: The Art of War”. The book details exactly how the transfer played out and how Costa came to reject a move to Merseyside.
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It reads: “Liverpool were quickest off the mark, offering €25m (£17m) for the Brazilian and triggering the release clause in his contract. However, Jose Mourinho, recently returned to Chelsea, had also identified Costa as a primary target, a Didier Drogba-style centre-forward around whom he could forge a new winning machine. The Portuguese coach had watched Costa since he first arrived at Braga, and had felt the force of the striker during his breakout season close-up as manager of Real Madrid.
“However, Mourinho had yet to persuade the owner of Chelsea, Roman Abramovich, to accelerate his rebuilding plans. In both acquiring new players and moving others on, the process would be gradual. For example, Benfica’s Nemanja Matic, another immediate target for the new manager, would have to wait until January 2014.
“If Costa could not be signed now, a strategy was needed to ensure he was delayed, and not diverted. Chelsea and Mourinho made their case to Costa and Atletico: turn down Liverpool now and we will sign you – for more money – in 12 months.”
Despite Costa’s impressive record – which includes a Champions League final with Altetico Madrid and the double during his first season at Chelsea – his injury problems and unpredictable attitude have left several question marks hanging over his prospects of long-term success.
Martin Skrtel and Emre Can, who were both victims of the striker’s ferocity during a hard-fought League Cup semi-final last season, can certainly testify for the less impressive aspects of Costa’s game.