Sky Sports pundit Darren Bent has tipped Leeds United to welcome the permanent signing of Wolverhampton Wanderers winger Helder Costa in the upcoming summer window.
Costa moved to Elland Road on loan ahead of the 2019/20 Championship season, but will become a permanent Whites player at the close of the campaign as Director of Football Victor Orta agreed on an obligation to buy clause that will be triggered irrespective of securing promotion.
The deal will come to around £15million in total – including the loan fee paid to Wolves as well as taking on the 26-year-old’s full contract for the current term – and has so far returned three goals and three assists over 36 second-tier outings to date.
Boss Marcelo Bielsa has fielded the one-time Portugal international in his starting line-up for 26 of our last 28 league fixtures, with his only outings from the bench since the end of September coming against Luton Town and Reading in late November.
Costa has often been unable to influence the scoring, despite his regular presence in the manager’s plans, but ended what had been a ten-game drought in the second-tier by assisting Pablo Hernandez’s strike at Hull City on Saturday.
Bent is confident that Costa is growing more and more with each passing week spent in West Yorkshire, and his upward trajectory is only going to make our obligation to buy even more worthwhile this summer.
“I think he’s been getting better,” Bent told Football Insider. “At the start of the season, he didn’t really get a run in the team – it was tough for him.
Will £15m prove good value for Costa in the summer?
“He is getting a little bit better, I watched him against Middlesbrough and I thought he absolutely tortured that George Friend, tortured him to the point where they had to take him off.
“We all know the ability’s there. He’s not going to go back to Wolves and get in their team, so I think Leeds is perfect for him. Bielsa likes him [and] he’s been getting more and more game time.
“In this short part of the season that’s left, if he can turn himself into a hero, play all these games and play really well, I’m [sure] Leeds will have no qualms about signing him.”
Costa has produced the second-most successful dribbles among our squad in the Championship this term with 53 to Jack Harrison’s team-high 67, per Sofa Score data, though the Portuguese ace’s tally is almost double that of third-most duo Pablo Hernandez and Mateusz Klich (27).
Yet despite his ability to beat opposing players and frequent minutes in the league, the SL Benfica product only ranks ninth among our first-team for creating big chances (four) and delivering accurate crosses (seven), while ranking sixth for accurate passes made in the final third of the field (343).
If Costa can improve his end product, then there will be next to no doubt in the worthiness of his obligation to buy at the close of the campaign.
In other Leeds United news, a rarely-seen player has been backed to hand Bielsa doubt over the future of a first-team regular.