Just days after completing his permanent move to the club, Helder Costa showed exactly why Leeds spending around £16m on him may be great business both for now and for the future.
The former Wolves winger looked in imperious form against Stoke on Thursday, and in a thrilling team performance that saw the Whites thrash their opponents 5-0, it was arguably Costa who well and truly stood out from the pack.
Pablo Hernandez’s introduction at half-time gave Leeds some extra impetus no doubt (Marcelo Bielsa’s side scored four of their goals in the second half), but it was Costa who tormented Stoke’s back-line all game.
It was no surprise that as per Sofascore, his 8.7 match rating was the highest of any player on the pitch.
After helping to win the penalty for Leeds’ opener, Costa scored and later assisted for the Whites too, but his impact was more than just that.
He completed two of his three dribbles, provided a team-high four key passes, and lost possession just six times over the course of the 90 minutes – to put that in perspective, Hernandez, who came on at the break, conceded the ball on 14 separate occasions.
And speaking after the game, Leeds boss Bielsa waxed lyrical about Costa’s performance, saying: “He was balanced. He made a difference. He unbalanced individually. That makes the reach of the attack of one team.”
With just a few games left, and automatic promotion edging over close, having an in-form attacker in Costa may just be the final little push that Leeds need to get over the finishing line in the next couple of weeks.