Wolverhampton Wanderers were seemingly on a path to seeking out another Diogo Jota in 2017, as they managed to tie down Helder Costa permanently after an impressive loan spell.
The tricky yet unorthodox winger earned praise whilst at Molineux, but at Anfield was where he has truly exploded. Under Jurgen Klopp’s tutelage, the Portugal international thrived in a fluid front three.
However, Costa too had impressed for the Old Gold in a way that suggested he might reach similar levels.
It was not quite reaching the levels of Jota, who scored 17 goals in his debut season at Wolves, but it was certainly close enough to warrant merit.
He may have even had the edge due to his creative ability, making him a more natural winger. During that first season he created 11 big chances, averaging 1.7 key passes per game. He also boasted a 57% dribble success rate.
The promise he showed, however, was not to continue in the way that the Reds’ star would, as a poor first season in the Premier League where he scored once, saw him loaned out and eventually sold for £16m to Leeds United.
He would only score eight times again for the Whites, continuing his disappointing downward trajectory.
Former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson actually branded the winger “not good enough” during his spell at Elland Road.
What really could have been with Costa, he now turns out for Al Ittihad in Saudi Arabia and is apparently worth just the £3.9m transfer fee they paid for him.
It marks a disappointing finale to a career that could have risen right to the top., as it has with Jota. Instead, he struggled with the initial step up to England’s top flight, and his career inevitably suffered from it.
Wolves’ decision to sell the 28-year-old when they did was sensational, but it seems a shame that someone that showed so much talent for Nuno Espirito Santo has fallen off so heavily.