Arsenal are planning a January swoop for Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa, according to the Daily Mail.

The La Liga striker has been in mesmerising form this season, scoring 22 goals in 21 games this season, 17 of which came in only 16 appearances in the league. His prolificacy has kept him level with Cristiano Ronaldo as the top scorer in Spain this season. The player is believed to have a £32m release clause in his contract, which was inserted when he signed a new contract to extend his services until 2018.

The Gunners have sent scouts to watch over the player ahead of a possible bid in January, in order to alleviate the pressure on Olivier Giroud, who has started in almost all of Arsenal's games this season.

The north London club do not have a proper backup with Nicklas Bendtner available from the bench to replace the Frenchman. Arsene Wenger had tried his best to prise Luis Suarez away from Liverpool last summer but the Reds refused to part with their star striker, leaving the manager to look for other options.

Costa's goal-scoring record has caught the eye of everyone at the Emirates and will give their title charge a new dimension should they be able to land the Brazilian. However, he will not be available for Arsenal's Champions League clash against Bayern Munich as the player is cup-tied with Atletico. This should not discourage Wenger from making a move as his acquisition will go a long way in strengthening their title credentials and alleviate their lack of firepower upfront which has affected them heavily in recent games.

Arsenal suffered their worst defeat this season against Manchester City in a 6-3 mauling at the Emirates which brought their lead down to two points. The Gunners will face Chelsea next at home and a loss here may take them fourth after staying at the top for the better part of two months.