Arsene Wenger appears to have claimed that Arsenal target Diego Costa - a player also reportedly coveted by title rivals Chelsea - could cost an incredible £145 million.
Speaking ahead of Saturday afternoon's FA Cup clash against fierce North London rivals Tottenham, the experienced Frenchman was asked directly if he would think about pursuing a deal for the Brazilian-born striker given the apparent crisis that has struck his forward unit with injuries to both Olivier Giroud and Nicklas Bendtner.
"What, £145m?! Honestly, you want to keep your chances in the season at the best possible level," he was quoted as replying by the Daily Mirror.
If the Arsenal boss truly does believe that Costa is worth such a sum, it would appear to cast considerable doubt over any Gunners move for the Atletico Madrid marksman.
Only yesterday, Arsenal were reported to be plotting a bid of £32 million - a figure that would apparently trigger a clause in the player's contract at Vicente Calderon - to bring Costa to the Emirates Stadium.
Chelsea, who have endured problems of their own in the final third so far this season with the trio of Demba Ba, Fernando Torres and Samuel Eto'o failing to provide a constant source of goals, are reported to be interested in a potential deal for Costa at the end of the current campaign.
Despite their notable reputation for splashing the cash in the years since Roman Abramovich arrived in West London, it seems unlikely that even Chelsea or returning boss Jose Mourinho would be willing to meet such an amount.
However, if Costa, who has netted a staggering 19 goals in 17 La Liga games for Atletico so far this season, keeps up his recent rich vein of form, both Arsenal and Chelsea may surely be forced to pay a hugely significant fee to land player.
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