Back in the summer of 2013, Liverpool weren’t having a lot of luck landing their hoped-for marquee signing. Henrikh Mkhitaryan had chosen Borussia Dortmund over them and Willian had chosen Spurs before choosing Chelsea. Then, there was Diego Costa, who in retrospect may have been the biggest miss.
Liverpool were fully ready to trigger his €30M release clause and bring him to England, but instead the player signalled he wanted to stay at Atletico Madrid and would not negotiate a deal. Atleti, for their part, were content to have the player around for another season rather than taking the money and left the decision up to Costa.
A year later, he headed to Chelsea for £32M in a move that went off without a hitch, a further frustration for Liverpool fans who wondered what had gone so wrong with their bid the season before. It turns out what had gone wrong was Jose Mourinho, who in 2013 told Costa he could get him more money if he waited a season.
"Mourinho, recently returned to Chelsea, had identified Costa as a primary target," claims the striker’s newly released biography. "However, Mourinho had yet to persuade owner Ramon Abramovich to accelerate his building plans. In both acquiring new players and moving others on the process would have to be gradual.
"If Costa could not be signed now, a strategy was needed to ensure he was delayed, and not diverted. Chelsea and Mourinho made their case to Costa and Atletico: turn down Liverpool now and we will sign you—for more money—in 12 months."
Of course, following that, Liverpool went on to a strong second place finish, falling just two points short of title winners Manchester City while scoring more than 100 goals. When Luis Suarez left the following summer, though, it certainly would have helped to have had Costa on hand.
Mourinho has recently been in the papers for one of his latest in a string of sensationalist remarks with a sexist personal attack on Montse Benitez, who recently joked that her husband, ex-Liverpool and current Real Madrid manager Rafa Benitez, was making a career of going from club to club cleaning up Mourinho’s messes.
"I think the lady needs to occupy her time," said the Chelsea manager earlier this week. "If she takes care of her husband’s diet she will have less time to speak about me."
- Know Your Frienemies: HJK Helsinki and Swindon Town
- Tony Pulis Eager to Put Rickie "New Car" Lambert Transfer into Gear
- Bologna "Would Consider the Possibility of Buying" Mario Balotelli—For the Right Price
- Official: Andre Wisdom Completes Norwich City Loan Move
- How Will Liverpool Line Up in 2015-16? Pre-Season Tactics Hint at a Christmas Tree