This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
As reported by the Daily Mail, Everton owner Farhad Moshiri has ordered the club to explore the possibility of bringing Atletico Madrid forward Diego Costa to Goodison Park.
The Spain international has flopped since returning to the Spanish capital, having left Chelsea in 2017 – Atletico paid £57.1m to bring their former striker back, which looks like a foolish decision right now.
Costa has netted a combined total of five league goals and five assists in his two La Liga campaigns back with Atletico, coming in a total of 31 appearances – that isn’t too good, to say the least.
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He was also hit with an eight-game ban last term for insulting an official, but it is not that nor his poor strike rate that should concern Everton and their top scorers Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson in particular.
What is particularly concerning about Costa is his declining ability to create chances.
The 30-year-old’s amount of key passes per game has been declining for the last two years – three if you exclude the anomaly that was his 2016/17 campaign.
Costa went from making 1.2 key passes per game, to recording just 0.9 per game in 2017/18 and then a measly figure of just 0.6 per game last season.
This usually wouldn’t be of too much concern, but the Toffees play with a lone forward up top in a 4-2-3-1 system, where the front man has to do the dirty work and lay chances on for the surrounding attacking players.
It is this system that saw Richarlison and Sigurdsson both net 13 league goals each last term, making them the Toffees’ joint-top Premier League scorers in 2018/19 – it is clear that getting them in advanced positions is a key component of Everton’s success.
If Costa is not able to supply these chances to them, and is also unable to put the ball in the net himself judging by his poor return in the last two years, then Everton could have a problem if they sign him.