Saul Niguez believes a fully-fit and in-form Diego Costa could prove to be even more important than all eight of Atletico Madrid’s summer signings.
Costa, who had struggled for goals last season amid foot injury problems, has returned to his old self for Atletico during pre-season.
The former Chelsea striker has scored five goals this summer, which is the same amount of goals he managed during the previous campaign. Furthermore, he also struck a memorable quadruple against Real Madrid.
And Costa’s hot of run of form couldn’t have come at a more welcome time for manager Diego Simeone considering the loss of star forward Antoine Griezmann to rivals Barcelona.
While the Argentine has recruited the promising Joao Felix for a club-record deal of €126m from Benfica, it may be too soon for the 19-year-old to spearhead Atletico’s challenge for major honours.
With Costa back at 100%, however, Saul sees no reason to worry.
“Diego looks great to me,” the Spanish midfielder told COPE.
“I love it when he’s like this, [because his attitude is] infectious. He’s a player we need at all times.
“I love that he defends his team-mates as he did against Madrid, that he fights for the shirt and I think that if Diego Costa is at his best level he will be the best signing we have.”
Meanwhile, Saul also confessed his surprise at Griezmann’s departure for Barcelona after five years at Atletico.
Although the 24-year-old hopes the lingering court battle between the two clubs over the €120m sale doesn’t “crush” the Frenchman either.
“I was surprised,” admitted Saul.
“He was a very important player and for him to leave is difficult. Atleti is above any player and when he wore the shirt there was nothing to reproach him for.
“He may not have left in the best way but we shouldn’t crush him either.”