With something of a rebuild on the cards for Jesse Marsch and Leeds United this summer, one would expect a number of the 48-year-old’s first-team players to be moved onto pastures new in the upcoming window – in order for the American to raise funds for his own signings ahead of 2022/23.
One such player who looks certain to depart Elland Road is Helder Costa, the winger currently on loan at Valencia.
The LaLiga side are reported to have a €20m (£16.5m) option to buy the Angola international, however, disappointing performances coupled with the January arrival of Tottenham Hotspur’s Bryan Gil have seen the £7.2m-rated forward’s minutes become extremely limited, with the latest updates from Spain suggesting that Los Che will not be taking up the purchase clause of the 28-year-old.
And, considering the fact that the player who Noel Whelan dubbed “negative” is reported to be earning a whopping £70k-per-week at Elland Road, in addition to the fact that Costa has ranked as the club’s second-worst and 10th-worst performer in the 2020/21 and 2021/22 Premier League campaigns respectively, it is unsurprising that reports are suggesting the Whites could look to move the player on permanently this summer.
Indeed, with an extremely inflated wage and failing to live up to his £16m fee, it would appear a wise move for Marsch to finally call time on the Angolan’s career at Elland Road.
Another player whose head could be on the chopping block at the end of the season is Robin Koch, the £13m 2020 signing from SC Freiburg.
The £15.3m-rated centre-back has struggled with both form and injury in 2021/22, making just 15 Premier League appearances, over which he has averaged a well below-par SofaScore match rating of just 6.54 – ranking him as Marsch’s sixth-worst player in the division.
These returns have seen the Germany international come in for criticism, with Danny Mills stating his belief that the 25-year-old could well find himself on the unwanted list as a result of failing to stake a claim in the starting XI:
“He hasn’t really found a position. He’s OK here, he’s OK there and he’s decent there. You don’t look at it and go, ‘he is playing centre-half’ or ‘he’s playing defensive midfield.’
“That is difficult for a player and also for a manager. Where does he fit in? Can the manager get somebody to do a specific job in that position who is maybe a little bit better?
“Sometimes being a utility player is great but it often means you are on the fringes. You are often second-choice in six or seven different positions.”
“The new manager will be looking to bring in two or three of his own players, players that he wants. If that means you have to get a couple out then so be it.”
And, with Koch also earning a quite considerable £46k-per-week at Elland Road, from his performances this season, it would not appear as if the player who Beren Cross dubbed both “horrible to watch” and “not good enough” is worth this outlay.
As such, it would seem as if moving Koch on – alongside Costa – could also be a smart move by Marsch, as not only would these exits free up room in the 48-year-old’s first-team squad, but it would also save Leeds a colossal £116k-per-week in wages.