Would Signing Diego Costa on Loan Be a Risk Worth Taking for Everton?
Evertonians were left scoffing at speculation surrounding a rumoured loan move for Chelsea's Diego Costa early last week as their search for a new striker intensified.
And yet, Toffees boss Ronald Koeman is actively pursuing the outcast, with rumours of a temporary spell at Goodison Park looking more likely as the days go by.
There are just two days left before the transfer window slams shut and, with it, the potential for Everton and Costa to enjoy a brief relationship before his supposed permanent return to former club Atletico Madrid.
Just how fruitful would a loan move for Costa be for the Blues though? Would Koeman get the best out of a player who has lost his way, or would the volatile forward be too hot to handle? Here we look at whether a surreal partnership would work or not:
Die-Go for Him!
With three full seasons of Premier League football experience, a goal haul of 58 goals in 120 matches and three English trophies lifted during his time at Stamford Bridge, Costa seems like a perfect fit for Everton at this present time.
The Toffees are desperate to secure the signature of a prolific marksman to replace the goals lost by Romelu Lukaku's departure, and Koeman's desire to land a physical, imposing goal-getter means that Costa would suit his side down to a tee.
Not many defences have enjoyed coming up against the 28-year-old during his time in England's top flight and, on his day, Costa is a right handful for any centre-back who is unuckily tasked with dealing with his powerful frame and temperamental nature.
Costa has netted at least 15 goals during each league campaign with Chelsea and, where he to find his fitness as soon as possible with Everton upon completing a remarkable loan switch, could easily bag 10 goals before jetting off to La Liga.
Those 10 goals could be the difference between the Toffees earning vital victories or not, and would certainly give their top four chances a significant boost heading into the new year.
Costa himself would benefit from the game time too. Atletico are, as is known, unable to register new players until their transfer embargo is lifted next January, and both Los Rojiblancos and the Spain international would have a man who is both match fit and in form ahead of any plausible winter window move as a result.
A match made in Heaven for everyone, it would appear, unless...
But at What Cost-a?
A loan move for Costa could, in fact, end up backfiring on Koeman and his team.
The ex-Braga and Celta Vigo man's hot-headedness needs no introduction, and his propensity to receive yellow and red cards - 30 and one during his three year spell in England respectively - could hamper Everton if they lost him for a game or two due to suspension.
Costa's current fitness levels, too, are a grave concern. The striker hasn't kicked a football in anger since June's 2018 World Cup qualifier against Macedonia, and would require a number of weeks to get up to speed.
Is that something Everton would be prepared to wait for, given the need for a regular goalscorer right now? And how would Costa's perceived fitness levels and tendency to fly off the handle go down with the strict personality of Dutch legend Koeman?
Theoretical queries, yes, but ones that Koeman must give plenty of consideration to if Costa is a serious transfer target.
Costa isn't the long-term solution to Lukaku. His heart clearly lies with Atletico after being frozen out at Chelsea but, being unable to play for them yet, a loan spell at Everton could prove to be beneficial for all parties.
His arrival would allow Koeman to scour the market for a permanent replacement to both Costa and Lukaku, and might see the striker bag crucial goals that aid Everton's push for a Champions League qualification spot.
His stint on Merseyside wouldn't be pretty, but it could be effective. It's certainly a risk worth taking, given Everton's attacking predicament, and one Koeman should insist his board pursue before Thursday's deadline.