Ahead of what could be a very exciting summer transfer window for Leeds United, talks swirl around potential incomings and looming outgoings. Victor Orta enjoyed bringing in talent like Robin Koch and Raphinha to Elland Road last year, but with their Premier League spot firmly in place, he could be looking to flex his muscles even more.
Of course, sometimes ruthless decisions must be made and this looked to be the case for the Whites. Helder Costa, who signed for Leeds last summer following a successful loan stint, has been a conundrum to say the least.
Despite missing just three matches in their Championship-winning season, in which he bagged four goals and six assists, he has slipped down the pecking order this term. As per Transfermarkt, Costa has started just eight Premier League matches due to being muscled out of the prime spot by Raphinha.
Naturally, competition builds when there’s more than one capable player in the same position. However, there was an occasion in which Bielsa dropped the £32,500-a-week dynamo from the squad completely. Costa was absent from the clash against Newcastle in December – a situation in which the manager didn’t really offer up an explanation for, as per Leeds Live.
With Ian Poveda also pushing for a spot in the starting lineup, competition is heavy. Speaking to Football Insider, Kevin Phillips recently tipped Bielsa to wield the axe on Costa and cut his losses on the Portuguese winger. However, recent performances from the 27-year-old beg that the manager waits a little longer before making a decision.
According to Sofascore, Costa has contributed to two goals in his last three substitute appearances. He grabbed himself a goal against Arsenal in what looked to be a stunning Leeds comeback, but ultimately ended in a 4-2 defeat. However, his guts to pull a goal back despite such a big deficit shows he can hold his nerve and show up in important moments.
His time at Wolves saw him rack up a total of 19 goals and 19 assists, as per Transfermarkt. He was hugely admired by Nuno Espirito Santo, who described him as “immense” during his time in orange. Costa’s ability is starting to show once more and he has surely given Bielsa a huge headache over who should be his go-to choice on the right-hand side.
In other news, Leeds must move for Phillips 2.0 in Boubakary Soumare…