The international break has long served as a platform for footballers to undermine their current club through their homeland media.
Whether it’s bemoaning a lack of playing time, ridiculing a former manager or putting bigger teams on notice for a potential move, there’s something about training with a national team that seems to rip the gaffer tape off modern players’ mouths.
Everton goal-getter Romelu Lukaku is the latest example, having spoken of his desire to play in next season’s Champions League while training with Belgium last week.
Naturally claims that he wants to take the “next step” in his career sparked a raft of rumours linking the front man with elite clubs from Bayern Munich to Manchester United.
But one Champions League regular that has the biggest need for a new striker is PSG, who appear increasingly likely to lose enigmatic striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic to the Premier League this summer.
With a burning desire to translate their Ligue 1 dominance into Champions League success, the French powerhouses are certain to splash the cash to find a replacement for the Swede.
The latest gossip offerings suggest it’s Chelsea’s Diego Costa that sits in Les Parisiens’ crosshairs, but a move for the Brazilian-born Spaniard would rate a costly short-term measure compared to landing Lukaku.
Of course Everton would demand a pretty penny for a treasured possession they paid over £25m just two years ago. But, at 22-years-old, Lukaku would be giving Laurent Blanc’s men the prime of his career if he was to sign a long-term deal with PSG.
Costa is already at the crest of a performance wave at the age of 27 and has had a far-from-exemplary campaign for the Blues, scoring 11 goals in 24 Premier League appearances.
He netted 20 times in 26 top-flight games for the west London club last term and his year-on-year numbers hint at inconsistency. Including the current campaign, Costa has returned 11, 20, 27, 10 and 10 goals in the last five league seasons respectively.
Comparatively, Lukaku appears a far more reliable source of goals having netted 18, 10, 15 and 17 in his four full Premier League seasons to date.
Although he’s never contested the Champions League proper, the Belgian’s scoring record of 16 strikes in 32 European games also betters that of Costa, who has 14 goals in 37 appearances across the Champions and Europa leagues.
Throw in the far cooler head Lukaku plays with despite being five years Costa’s junior and the decision to pursue the Toffees star over Costa looks an increasingly easy one.