Leeds United were unable to make much use of the January transfer window and as such, they will see out the rest of the 2020/21 season without any new personnel. However, their summer business was fruitful enough to ensure that they look certain to survive in the Premier League upon their return to the big time.
Despite the injury problems that are hindering their backline, the Whites are benefitting from the likes of Raphinha and Jack Harrison week in, week out. Between them, the creative duo have contributed nine goals and eight assists so far this season, according to BBC Sport.
However, due to their untouchable status in Marcelo Bielsa’s lineup, Helder Costa has slipped drastically down the pecking order. Despite playing a huge role in Leeds’ promotion-winning campaign, the former Wolves man has been a bit-part player at best this time around.
As per Transfermarkt, the 27-year-old hasn’t started for the Whites since November. The Championship winners fell 4-1 to Crystal Palace and Costa was responsible for one of their goals after putting the ball into his own net. Since then, he has been reduced to mere cameo appearances for Leeds and has just one goal and two assists to his name for the season.
With the emergence of youngster Ian Poveda, the role of Raphinha’s deputy is now highly contested. The 20-year-old has already bagged himself ten senior appearances this season and is quickly becoming one of Bielsa’s go-to options from the bench.
Poveda is very likely to usurp Costa in the pecking order at Leeds and once that happens, the Portugal international could waste his years on the bench at Elland Road.
Costa has failed to impress onlookers as well this season. In a recent Q&A for The Athletic, Phil Hay admitted that the summer signing has “fallen well behind Raphinha” and was a “big disappointment” for Leeds against Crawley Town back in October.
Indeed, the Whites suffered a shock defeat to the League One side, who dumped them out of the FA Cup after firing three goals past them. According to Sofascore, Costa had two clear-cut chances to find the back of the net, but squandered both opportunities.
Although he has only recently signed permanently for Leeds, Andrea Radrizzani will not take kindly to forking out £70,000 per week for a player who rarely sees first team action these days. A transfer away from Elland Road may appear rash on paper, but as things stand, it looks to be the best move for all involved.
In other news, Leeds can’t afford to let Raphinha leave amid Liverpool interest…