The only surprising aspect of news that West Brom are reportedly in for Costa Rica pair Yeltsin Tejeda and Christian Gamboa is the fact that hardly any of the World Cup smile-inducers’ squad have been linked with summer moves.
For the uninitiated, Tejeda is a 22-year-old midfielder plying his trade at his homeland’s most dominant side Saprissa, while 24-year-old right-back Gamboa makes a living in Norway with Rosenborg.
Both featured prominently in Brazil, starting all of their country’s five games en route to eventual heroic quarter-final failure at the hands of the Netherlands, but the Baggies have hardly begun to scratch the surface of the Central American springers’ potential.
Experienced dead-ball specialist Christian Bolanos, who used to line up alongside Gamboa at FC Copenhagen, is sadly no longer available having agreed to stay in the land of samba with Flamengo.
However, the 30-year-old’s centre-half teammates Oscar Duarte and Giancarlo Gonzalez, plus midfielder Celso Borges, look eminently gettable this summer.
All three should be approaching their prime, coming in at ages 25/6, and each have plenty of European experience in the bag.
Borges has been on this continent since 2009, when he signed for Norwegian side Fredrikstad, before leaving for the richer pastures of AIK in Sweden two years later, for whom he has scored 20 times in 54 league games.
Gonzalez left Valerenga after a season in 2013 and joined the brave new MLS world via Columbus Crew six months ago.
The 6ft3in centre-back cleared his defensive lines a whopping 47 times at the World Cup, making him the ninth-best at said task going by match averages, according to WhoScored.com.
It shouldn’t be too difficult to prise Gonzalez from the Ohio outfit, although Club Bruges could play hardball over any potential move for Duarte, who recently signed a new contract in Belgium.
Duarte is the only Costa Rican mentioned here who didn’t start all Los Ticos’ Brazil fixtures, having been sent off in the last-16 clash with Greece.
Nevertheless, the first Nicaraguan-born player to appear at a World Cup’s stock rose considerably thanks to four solid shifts to the right of Gonzalez in coach Jorge Luis Pinto’s 5-4-1 formation.
After banking €7 million last summer from Sevilla for striker Carlos Bacca, Blauw-Zwart would want a pretty penny for Duarte, and they’d be entitled to it following his impressive shows on the biggest football stage possible.
Lest we forget that Costa Rica topped a group containing multiple former champions Italy, Uruguay and England, before seeing off a famously-sticky Greece side, then went out on penalties to, historically, the greatest never-winners the tournament has ever known.
Surely that’s makes them worth a few quid, in this post-Gareth Bale football world?