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Arsene Wenger says he regrets that Arsenal didn't try to sign Diego Costa from Atletico Madrid in 2014.
The Spain international joined Arsenal's Premier League rivals Chelsea in a £30m deal two years ago, but Wenger says he would have tried to scupper the move if he had known the Brazil-born striker was up for sale.
Costa went on to net 20 goals to lead Chelsea to the Premier League title in his first season at Stamford Bridge, and has recovered his scoring touch under new boss Antonio Conte this season with five goals in as many games after struggling last term.
"I never thought he would leave Atletico Madrid at the time, I was surprised," Wenger said.
"Would I have made a harder play for him had I known? Yes. I like him, as a quality striker."
Wenger says Costa, whose Chelsea side visit Arsenal this evening in a game to be shown live on BT Sport 1 (kick off 5.30pm), sometimes treads a fine line with his gamesmanship, but the Frenchman prefers to focus on the 27-year-old's qualities.
"You want full commitment from every single player," he said.
"But commitment is different from these kind of over-reactions. He is a fighter and you respect that. The rest is down to the referees to get the game and the rules respected.
"He is similar to [Didier] Drogba because he's a top-quality player"
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