Leeds face tough call if Helder Costa bid comes in
While most of the Leeds United players who won promotion from the Championship stepped up once in the Premier League, last season proved to be a frustrating campaign for Helder Costa.
The winger made an impact while on loan at Elland Road. But it certainly appeared that he had a point to prove when his switch was converted into a permanent deal.
And he made an outstanding start. He provided a sublime assist at Liverpool on the opening day of last season. And he produced perhaps his best display for Leeds, against Fulham the following week.
Unfortunately, there have not been many contenders since. Costa has largely played a peripheral role with Raphinha subsequently arriving and stealing the show.
Of course, there is no shame in being the understudy to the Brazilian and Jack Harrison. But Leeds fans would argue that they look a lot less dangerous when the 27-year-old comes in for either.
Writing any player off during Bielsa’s tenure however, can be foolish. Harrison himself, bounced back from a fairly ordinary first year in West Yorkshire.
But the alarming signs for Costa have continued into this pre-season, culminating in two disappointing displays on Wednesday.
Helder Costa poor as Leeds’ pre-season struggles continue
The wide-man joined a number of Leeds youngsters in facing Ajax’s starlets early on in the day.
And he came off the bench as Bielsa’s men faced Erik ten Hag’s side in the evening.
On neither occasion however, did Costa catch the eye. Leeds improved considerably after their handful of first-team players came off in the first game.
And he did little of note in the second friendly. There were a couple of occasions when he found himself in good positions.
However, he seemed to dally on the ball and could not make his mind up. Unsurprisingly, both openings came to nothing.
Leeds do not have a large group of first-team wingers. So it would be a risk to let any go.
But it does appear to be the right time to consider whether selling Costa would be best for all concerned.
According to a recent report from The Athletic, he is wanted in Spain. Valencia are amongst the La Liga sides to look at the former Wolves man.
Leeds meanwhile, are apparently paying Costa £32,500-a-week. So moving his wages on may be a boost for them.
Obviously, much would depend on who comes in to replace him. But someone like Ryan Kent – who is a reported target – would provide that fearlessness that Leeds were crying out for on Wednesday.
Leeds are unlikely to actively try and sell Costa. Bielsa would not play him so much if he did not have faith in him.
But if a good offer does arrive, the Whites surely have to see what can be done.
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