West Ham have been told to go all out to sign former Chelsea striker Diego Costa.
Glen Johnson said he would ‘love’ to see the Spaniard back in the Premier League and believes he would be a ‘perfect fit’ at the London Stadium.
And ex-Hammers boss Sam Allardyce believes he could help fire the club to European football.
Costa has been linked with ending his nightmare spell back in Spain by returning to England this summer.
The troublemaker 30-year-old has scored just five LaLiga goals since re-joining Atletico Madrid from Chelsea in January 2018 and was handed an eight-match ban in April for abusing a referee.
But he is still remembered for his lethal spell with the Blues, where he scored 52 league goals in 89 appearances and won two Premier League titles.
“He’s a fantastic player and I could see him go to West Ham,” the former Hammer told talkSPORT host Jim White on Thursday.
“He’s still got plenty left in the tank and the club have shown over the years that if they want someone they’ll go and get them. They can pay Diego the wages he would no doubt demand.
“I reckon he would thrive being a big fish in a smaller pond as well. I think it would be a perfect fit. I’d love to see him back in the Premier League and would love to see him at West Ham.
“If Arnie is gone, I would have swapped the pair of them over anyway. I’d rather Diego in my team than Arnie all day long
“He’s one of those players who you’d love to have him on your side, but he’s nightmare to play against.”
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West Ham have been linked with a host of strikers this summer as they look to improve from their disappointing tenth place finish last season.
The likes of Sebastien Haller of Eintracht Frankfurt, Juventus’ Gonzalo Higuain and even ex-Man City and Liverpool misfit Mario Balotelli have all been mentioned, while the Hammers appear to have been beaten by Valencia in the race for long-term target Maxi Gomez.
But, according to Allardyce, West Ham should do everything they can to bring in ‘next fan-favourite’ Costa.
“The salary is what you have to pay for a goalscorer and they’ll reap the rewards if he gets West Ham in the top half of the table,” the former manager said on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast.
“Pushing on that little bit farther, he could actually get them into Europe with his goals.
“He’s definitely the sort of player who would be a hit with the West Ham fans.”
As well as his predatory finishing, Costa earned the reputation for being one of the most devious players in the game during his prolific spell at Chelsea.
Some fans might question why West Ham would want to replace one troublemaker in Arnautovic with another in Costa.
But Johnson says the striker’s mischievous side can be a huge plus to his team.
The ex-England defender added: “He’s not as aggressive as he seems, he’s just quite smart. He makes defenders boil.
“I’ve seen him unravel calm defenders and turn them into having fights they never want to have, and by doing so they lose concentration and then all they’re concentrating on is trying to take a chunk out of him rather than defending properly.
“When he plays like that, that’s when he’s at his best. As long as he keeps the aggression controlled and clever, that he’s when he gets in the form like he had at Chelsea.
“He never played against me, but I’d see him do stuff on the pitch and it would make me laugh, it would make me smile.
“He’s quite cute with it and I’d see people bite. But you know exactly what he’s trying to do, so just try to ignore it and nail him when you get the chance.”