Diego Costa has joined Wolves on a deal until the end of the season after securing his work permit to seal a return to the Premier League.
The 33-year-old former Chelsea striker signed a free transfer after leaving Brazilian side Atletico Mineiro in January, where he played 19 times and scored five goals in the 2021 season before his contract is terminated after only five months.
Wolves moved for the former Atletico Madrid striker after summer signing Sasa Kalajdzic was ruled out by an ACL injury he suffered in their home win against Southampton last weekend.
Despite being linked with fellow Brazilian Corinthians, he remained without a club. last august, Mark reported that he is close to signing a deal with La Liga midfielder Rayo Vallecano.
Costa hasn’t played a single professional game since December 2021 and it remains to be seen whether Lage will choose him in his squad for Saturday’s game against champions Manchester City.
Analysis: Great signing, but how long before Costa is fit?
Danyal Khan, Sky Sports News reporter:
Let’s not forget why this move came for Wolves. Having spoken to Bruno Lage on several occasions this season, the Wolves manager has continually reiterated how important it is to bring in another striker to compete with their star Raul Jimenez.
They brought in Sasa Kaladjzic from Stuttgart before the transfer window closed and although there was a lot of excitement around the Austrian’s arrival – no one could have predicted his debut would end after 45 minutes against Southampton with an ACL injury. He will be out for the foreseeable future.
Wolves have moved quickly in the free agent market and in Costa they have a suitable short-term replacement for the season while Kaladjzic recovers.
Although Costa turns 34 next month, there’s no doubt the impact could have on Wolves. His CV says it all: 52 goals in 89 Premier League appearances with plenty of trophies to back up his stats.
Wolves have played entertaining football so far this season in a new formation which Bruno Lage introduced in the summer. This has led to a promising new defense with Max Kilman and Nathan Collins in the middle – the team with the fewest conceded goals so far this season.
However, the problem for Wolves this season has been goals at the other end of the pitch. With their summer additions of Matheus Nunes and Goncalo Guedes as well as Pedro Neto and Daniel Podence, Wolves have the players to put the ball on a plate for Costa and he can in turn provide a focal point as well as spin with Jimenez.
The question remains – how long will it take Costa to get fit after not playing since December 12 for Atletico Mineiro, but there should be no doubt that Costa could provide just the teeth which Wolves need to score more goals for their side.
Could Costa be perfect for Wolves?
Injury to Wolves striker Sasa Kalajdzic at Southampton triggered a chain of events that led us here. The eventual return of Diego Costa. Not everyone is convinced that every move will work, but most feel compelled to keep an eye on it to find out.
For three years, Costa has been a rumbling presence in the Premier League. His goals had led Atletico Madrid to the title and he repeated the feat with Chelsea. Twice. Opposition fans hated him. The opposition players hated him. Everyone wanted him on their team.
There are plenty of good reasons why Costa isn’t the answer to Wolves’ problems. Reasons, presumably, that persuaded the club to pay over £15million to bring in someone else days earlier rather than go for the out-of-contract striker.
Costa hasn’t played professional football in 2022. He’ll be expected to play from memory – but those memories are still fresh in England. This is a player last seen on a Premier League pitch celebrating his role in what remains Chelsea’s last title win.
Indeed, Costa was the man who helped Chelsea to each of their last two Premier League titles. He scored 20 goals in both campaigns, first under Jose Mourinho and then Antonio Conte. Striker had been a problematic position at Stamford Bridge. Costa made it his own.
But since then, the goals have been more difficult to achieve. He hasn’t hit double figures in a league season since. The edge is still there in his mind. Maybe not in his aging body. And yet, Atletico Madrid won trophies with him. Atletico Mineiro completed the double in Brazil.
Wolves would welcome that winning mentality. This is a team that has been stripped of senior officials. An abrasive personality on the pitch could be helpful. Apart from that, there will be hope and expectation that – as a native Portuguese speaker – he can adapt quickly.
Read Adam Bate’s full article here.