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Spotlight on…Douglas Costa

For the latest instalment of the ‘Spotlight on…’ series, Sport Report goes east to the Ukraine and takes a look at one of the many Brazilians plying their trade in Donetsk, Douglas Costa.

In a way, Douglas Costa is similar to the subject of a previous Spotlight On… piece, Neymar. Many people may not have seen the young Brazilian play but most will be familiar with the name thanks to a string of newspaper reports linking him with some of European football’s leading clubs. Such reports abounded in 2009 after the attacking midfielder helped Brazil’s under-20 side win the South American Youth Championship with Manchester United being particularly heavily linked with the player. It therefore came as something of a surprise when Costa moved to Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk in January 2010 for a cut price fee believed to be in the region of €6 million.

The Brazilian struggled to make an immediate impact as he found his feet in a new country and adapted to a different style of football, but he did finish his first season at the club with a league winner’s medal and five goals in 15 games. This season, his second at the club, Costa has kicked on and played an integral role in Shakhtar’s run to the Champions League quarter-finals and to what looks like another Ukrainian league title (Shakhtar are 14 points clear with only five games remaining). The pacey midfielder has added consistency to moments of supreme virtuosity in his second season in the Ukraine and his return of seven goals and ten assists in all competitions is not to be sniffed at.

Shakhtar’s involvement in European club football’s elite competition has provided the 20 year old with the perfect platform to showcase his bountiful talents. His goal against Roma in the first knockout round perhaps best illustrated what Costa is all about as he surged down the right wing, beat the defender with a drop of his right shoulder, before cutting in on his favoured left foot and curling in a precise 20 yard shot past a helpless Doni. As well as an eye for goal, the youngster has shown he is blessed with excellent vision and technical ability, something which can be seen in his set-piece delivery. Shakhtar manager Mircea Lucescu described him as ‘very rapid’ and praised his work ethic in training. Costa is able to play on either wing but his ability to time late runs in to the box is reminiscent of Paul Scholes in his pomp and makes him more dangerous as an attacking central midfielder. He is thriving in Lucescu’s attacking system and his impressive form has not gone unnoticed by clubs in Europe’s top leagues.

Douglas Costa in action for Shakhtar Donetsk (This image is the property of AFP/Getty Images)

Long-time admirers Manchester United have been monitoring the player since he was brought to their attention as a 16 year old and are now reportedly ready to act on their interest having seen he can handle the demands of the Champions League. Costa was a guest of the club at their recent match versus Bolton Wanderers, something which has only served to intensify the speculation. Sir Alex Ferguson could use a creative force in the centre of the park with Paul Scholes seriously considering retirement and so reports that the club are readying an offer of around €15 million may not be too far off the mark. Napoli are also showing interest, but Lucescu has said he would only sell him to the Italian club if Edinson Cavani is part of the deal, which is unlikely. Old Trafford seems a more realistic destination with the player reputedly keen on a move to the Premier League.

It remains to be seen whether any such move will materialise but if Douglas Costa continues to perform in the way he is at present, a move to one of Europe’s big clubs and a first senior Brazil cap cannot be too far away.

Douglas Costa

Name: Douglas Costa de Souza

Place of Birth: Sapucaia do Sul,Brazil

Nationality: Brazilian

Date of Birth: 14th September 1990

Career League Appearances: 62

Career League Goals: 11

Total Career Appearances: 79

Total Career Goals: 14

International Caps: 0

International Goals: 0

Key Attributes: pace, superb vision, excellent dribbler with a trick to beat a defender,       technically very sound                                                                   

Categories: Football
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