ATLÉTICO MADRID

Costa or Gameiro? Atleti to decide between brain and brawn

Costa phoned Diego Simeone to ask for patience as he seeks a return to the Calderón, while Gameiro turned down Barça in hope...

Madrid
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Atlético de Madrid are desperate to sign a number nine this summer and have whittled the list down to two options: Kevin Gameiro or Diego Costa. There were others, such as Gonzalo Higuaín and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but they proved beyond the Calderón’s reach. Gameiro is reportedly on the verge of a 30-million-euro move, with five more in add-ons, while Costa, who enjoyed the best form of his career at Atlético, has asked Atleti to keep him on ice. Here are the five differences between the two players.

Price: A substantial difference. Costa will likely cost twice as much as Gameiro, with Chelsea keen on 60 million euros for a striker Antonio Conte does not want to leave Stamford Bridge. And neither do Chelsea need the money. And there are salaries to consider: Gameiro earns four million a year at Sevilla, while Costa trousers a cool nine million at Chelsea. The Hispano-Brazilian will take a pay cut to return to the Calderón but remains the considerably pricier option.

Goals: In the most important department for a striker, there is little difference between the two. Over the last five seasons Costa has netted 102 goals to Gameiro’s 90. Costa’s most prolific season, 2013-14 at Atlético, reaped 36 goals. Gameiro bagged 29 last season for Sevilla. And both have had to compete with top-level players in their time: Falcao, David Villa, Carlos Bacca, and Fernando Llorente.

Style: Both players have similar characteristics, seeking space to operate and designed to play in quick counterattacking teams. Costa is stronger and, when fit, more suited to quick transitions, while Gameiro has more natural instinct to operate in the area and poach goals. Gameiro has the edge from the spot as a clinical penalty taker, a facet of the game that Costa is not so adept in.

Diego Costa: The Art of War

Character: Costa and Gameiro are chalk and cheese. The Frenchman displays plenty of Gallic reserve and is rarely seen raising his voice during games. Costa has a litany of on-field misdemeanours to his name – spitting at Sergio Ramos, the “bite” on Gareth Barry, stamping on Emre Can… -- but off the pitch is largely absent from the tabloids. “I play to the limit, always at 100 percent. I’m not violent, I just interpret football in a different way,” he is quoted as saying in a biography, entitled “Diego Costa: The Art of War”.

Experience: In this area Costa is clearly ahead of Gameiro. He has played regularly for two elite sides (Atlético and Chelsea) while Gameiro’s time at PSG was not a resounding success, due to playing second fiddle to Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Costa will also require no bedding in as he already knows Atlético and Simeone’s methodology inside out. Not every player fits into the Argentinean’s scheme, as Jackson Martínez can attest.