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Costa on Arsenal wishlist

Diego Costa

London: Arsenal have been scouting Diego Costa but remain doubtful about their prospects of signing the Atletico Madrid striker in January.

Costa’s brilliant start to the season has alerted interest in his situation but he has been watched by Arsenal since last season and it is understood that there would be a reluctance to immediately stretch to a buyout clause which is reportedly in excess of 30 million.

Arsenal, though, are actively interested and aware that he is one of the few leading strikers in Europe who is potentially available in January. Chelsea, who are also looking for a striker, are another club monitoring Costa’s situation.

There have been no bids at this stage and, after the misunderstanding last summer over Luis Suarez’s possible “buyout” clause, Arsenal would want to know where they stand before formalising their interest.

Costa has replaced Radamel Falcao this season as Atletico’s talisman and has scored 21 goals in 21 games. His form, however, means that he is pushing for a place in the Spain squad for World Cup next year — should he succeed in switching his allegiance from Brazil — and there is an argument that his immediate international ambitions would be better served by staying in La Liga.

Arsenal are still seeking another striker — and would have let Nicklas Bendtner leave last summer had Suarez, Gonzalo Higuain or Demba Ba arrived — but know they will struggle to find the right player in January without playing an inflated price. If they do not make any major additions to their squad, Wenger will not allow Bendtner to depart mid-season.