Diego Costa has escalated speculation that he could join Arsenal on a free transfer after announcing the termination of his contract with Atletico Mineiro.
The 33-year-old former Chelsea frontman had a successful five-month stint with the Belo Horizonte club, winning the Brasileiro (top flight) and also the Copa do Brasil in his time with them.
Costa initially signed a contract until December 2022, following the termination of his deal at Atletico Madrid.
However, the experienced Spain international may be on the way back to England, more than four years after he left Stamford Bridge.
Reports from South America last week claimed that Mikel Arteta’s men had been in discussions with the player. Atletico Mineiro director of football Rodrigo Caetano enhanced the chances of the move happening by admitting that Costa wanted to move on.
And now the feisty attacker has announced his exit in an emotional goodbye message.
“Today, officially, I say goodbye to Atletico,” he wrote on Instagram. “I would like to thank all Massa Atleticana for all the support and affection I received from the first to the last day.
Arsenal wrong for getting NLD postponed
Injuries and absences are part of the game. Leeds are the best example of how its played.
“Thank you so much for being part of my childhood dream of playing in Brazilian football and winning titles.
“I would also like to express my gratitude to the entire technical staff, medical department, employees and especially to my teammates who helped me daily, always doing everything to make me feel comfortable.
“The feeling that remains is gratitude to all of you Athleticans. Thank you and I wish you all the success in the world!!!”
Costa has proven Premier League quality
Costa would certainly give the Gunners experienced Premier League option to lead the line. That will be particularly crucial in the second half of a campaign in which Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is unlikely to feature prominently, and could even move on.
The Gabon star was stripped of the captaincy following a disciplinary breach, with Barcelona tipped to try and sign him.
Alexandre Lacazette has often worn the armband in recent weeks but the Frenchman is out of contract this summer and there no signs of him penning a new contract.
Young forward Eddie Nketiah also has less than six months remaining on his deal. So with that being the case, getting Costa on board could be a shrewd move, even if it’s only a potential 18-month deal.
Costa has a fine record in the Premier League, scoring 52 goals in 89 top-flight games as Chelsea won two titles.
However, Arsenal are not the only club keen on his signature, with Corinthians, Sao Paolo and Spanish outfit Cadiz also keen – as reported in the Daily Mirror.