Liverpool plot to rob La Liga of one of division’s few remaining strikers

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It’s so ingenious a ploy that you’d be forgiven for assuming that Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore sent a directive out in June: to prove our superiority, we’re going to sign every second-rung La Liga clubs’ strikers.

Alvaro Negredo, Roberto Soldado, Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto fled Spain’s top tier for England, serving the dual Premier League-promoting purpose of weakening La Liga at their gain and widening the gap between Barcelona, Real Madrid and their poor relations.

A window that has also been used as a Liga escape route by Radamel Falcao, Gonzalo Higuain and Fernando Llorente could yet deprive the division of another attacking talent as Liverpool have locked their eyes on Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa.

The 24-year-old enjoyed the most productive campaign of a fairly unprolific career to date last term, scoring 10 league goals as Atletico finished third and eight times in the successful pursuit of the Copa del Rey, netting in the final against Real Madrid.

That form earned him two Brazil caps earlier this year but, even though they have already lost Falcao, Atletico aren’t totally resistant to letting Costa leave on account of purchasing David Villa and Leo Baptistao in pre-season.

It is reported that Liverpool have bid £21.8m to trigger a release clause and are hopeful of tying up a deal swiftly, yet they insist that Costa isn’t being targeted with a view to replacing Luis Suarez, who is 13/10 to move to Real Madrid.

However, with Suarez, Daniel Sturridge, Fabio Borini, Aspas, Alberto, Philippe Coutinho, Raheem Sterling and Stewart Downing all seemingly squabbling over three places, there surely isn’t room for another new arrival without someone departing.

Despite the uncertainty over Suarez’s future, this has been interpreted as a positive summer on the whole for Liverpool, which is why they are shorter than Tottenham at 13/8 to finish in the top four.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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