Bayern Munich have straightaway shown their intentions for the next season after strengthening the team significantly with the signing of Douglas Costa from Shakhtar Donetsk. The club has not yet announced the deal officially, but the transfer is expected to be completed once the player returns from Copa America. Brazil were knocked out of this prestigious South American competition on penalties to Paraguay. The national team suffers yet a more disappointment after the humiliating World Cup 2014 exit. Brazil were seen as the favourites prior to the start of the tournament, but Betfair now back Argentina to win the title at 5/6 in the Copa America 2015 odds.
Costa has spent much of his top level football with Shakhtar Donetsk. He has been with the Ukrainian club for the last six seasons. The 24-year-old came close to leaving in January due to political tensions in Ukraine. Chelsea were seen as the potential destination, but they backed out of a possible transfer and went for Fiorentina winger Juan Cuadrado. Costa is unlikely to be the one complaining, as he is now seen as the future replacement for Arjen Robben.
The Dutch winger has had a remarkable spell at Bayern since his move from Real Madrid. However, he has been plagued by injuries in the last 12 months and it is thought that the 31-year-old is fast approaching the twilight of his career. Robben was already a player prone to injuries and his absence is no longer expected to be surprising in the coming years. Since Franck Ribery has also approached his 30s, Bayern need a serious upgrade in the winger’s position.
Costa is not expected to hit the ground running straightaway. The continued presence of Robben and Ribery makes him the third choice winger at the club, but this period of settling in should not provide much pressure to him. Last season, Costa impressed heavily with Shakhtar Donetsk and his contributions almost helped Bayern get knocked out from the competition. Robben featured in only 28 games throughout last season. Such is the impressive attacking nature of the Dutch winger that he still managed to return 19 goals and eight assists from these matches.
The statistics of Costa could improve significantly by playing with the better players at the Allianz Arena. At the moment, it is not so great. Costa has never entered into double figures when it comes to scoring goals over a season. His best ever tally was seven goals in all competitions that he managed consistently from the 2010-11 campaign until the 2013-14 season.
He earned his first call-up to the Brazil national team in 2014 and has since made eight appearances. His only goal for the national team came in the Copa America match against Peru, which Brazil managed to win 2-1.
Shakhtar Donetsk are on a selling spree with the future of striker Luiz Adriano also under doubt. The coach, Mircea Lucescu, says that the club has agreed a fee with a Middle East club but the player is not keen on a move to a lower profile league at this stage in his career. After having scored 21 goals in all competitions last season, Adriano believes that he is still good enough to represent a club in one of Europe’s top leagues. A number of Champions League clubs like Atletico Madrid and Chelsea are on the lookout for new strikers and Adriano would certainly fit the bill.
Lucescu believes that the club will benefit from selling the player in the summer rather than after six months when his contract expires. It is clear that Adriano will not extend his contract with the Ukrainian club.
The success of Costa at Bayern will be key for the German club, who appear to be at crossroads. Even though the team managed to win yet another German league title, there was more disappointing news waiting for them with regard to the Champions League. Since the appointment of Guardiola, the club has failed to reach the Champions League final. Betfair, though, backs the German outfit at 5/1 for European success next season. Barcelona are the clear favourites at odds of 3/1. It is widely thought that Guardiola will extend his Bayern Munich contract only upon such an immense success. The former Barcelona manager’s contract runs out in 12 months, but he has so far not put his pen on the paper. Manchester City remain keen on the former Barcelona captain amidst the uncertainty.
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