FC Bayern München have paid FC Shakhtar Donetsk a reported €30m for Douglas Costa; Philip Röber looks at what the Brazilian attacking midfielder has to offer.
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With the arrival of Douglas Costa, FC Bayern München have made their first big move of the summer. On the day they began preparing for the new season, the Brazilian arrived from FC Shakhtar Donetsk for a fee believed to be in the region of €30m. UEFA.com's Bayern expert Philip Röber takes a look at what the attacking midfielder has to offer.
It immediately becomes evident that he fits Josep Guardiola's profile: Douglas Costa's main asset is versatility. Capable of playing on both wings, he can provide cover for Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben, who both missed chunks of last season through injury. The duo's absence during the decisive phase of the campaign led to a significant dip in intensity at just the wrong moment last term.
Douglas Costa is more accustomed to playing on the right and a quick winger with good dribbling skills means Bayern could maintain the pace when Robben is unavailable. The 24-year-old cannot match Robben's scoring rate, so he is not a direct replacement. Still, there is little doubt that he will find his place in Bavaria. "He has high technical qualities, a strong left foot, he is very agile and extremely fast," said Bayern sporting director Matthias Sammer.
"Douglas can't improve any more with us," said Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu. "I see him in Robben's position. He's just 24 and can reach Robben's level in the years to come. He's a very strong player, naturally left-footed but can play on the right too. And he is ruthless and unstoppable when cutting in from the wings. He's on the same level as James Rodríguez."
Lucescu has mainly deployed Costa on the right, although he was not a typical winger – rather, one of the club's most versatile players. Great dribbling skills, explosive pace – both over short and long distances – and a powerful shot in both feet, allied to the ability to beat defenders and a set-piece threat, make him a potent asset. The Brazilian can be dependent on team morale but when he's on fire, he is very difficult to contain – although he can still improve the defensive side of the game, particularly regaining possession.
Bayern are approaching a time where they will have to look into reducing the average age in the squad. Xabi Alonso, Ribéry and Robben are all the wrong side of 30 and though they may have several more years in them it would be negligent not to think about establishing quality successors. Douglas Costa has the best part of his career ahead of him.
When Douglas Costa returns to Munich after a ten-day holiday granted after playing the Copa América with Brazil, he will arguably face the biggest challenge of his career – Guardiola now has 18 players capable of playing a midfield role. It is exactly that mix of pressure and motivation which Bayern hope will pay dividends.