Helder Costa has received criticism from former Leeds United striker Noel Whelan after his loan move to Spanish side Valencia.
The Lowdown: Failing to impress
After emerging onto the scene with Wolves, Costa signed for Leeds after impressing on loan in the 2019/20 season, when he contributed to 10 goals in 43 Championship games to help the club return to the Premier League after 16 years.
Costa then made 22 appearances in the top flight, scoring three times – with two of them coming in the opening two games – before missing the final five games of the season.
Following the arrival of Dan James from Manchester United on transfer deadline day, Costa received a career lifeline as La Liga side Valencia signed him on loan.
The Latest: Expected to leave
Whelan, who now works for his old club after leaving his role at the BBC, has told Football Insider he believes Costa could reinvigorate his career in Spain, but admitted his unhappiness at the winger’s time in Yorkshire.
A source also told the outlet that Costa is expected to depart permanently next year whether Valencia exercise their permanent option in the loan deal or not, meaning he will likely never again don a Whites shirt.
“I think he needed that change,” Whelan said.
“He’s got everything in his makeup. He’s got all the ability, the pace, the skill, but we just didn’t see it enough at Leeds.
“That inconsistency in his performances was frustrating for a lot of the fans because we know what he can do on his day.
“When you’ve seen it in one game, and then don’t see it in the next couple of games- everyone wonders why he can’t replicate that former across a string of games.
“He’s got an opportunity to stake a claim out there in Spain now and really lock a position down at Valencia.
“We might see the best of him there, and it could help him when he comes back if he rediscovers that confidence and belief.”
The Verdict: Chance for Costa
Returning to the Portugal national squad seems far fetched for Costa after only making one appearance in 2018, but he is capable of helping Valencia return to the European places in the Spanish top flight.
His time at Wolves and Leeds was impressive when he was at full pelt, but things eventually come to an end and with the way Leeds are shaping up under Marcelo Bielsa, they really cannot afford to hang on to fringe players who simply don’t have the consistency to perform week in week out.
His contract at Elland Road doesn’t end until 2024, so impressing on loan will be vital for Costa if he is to attract interest and bank a decent fee for Bielsa and co.
In other news, Whites target has expressed his transfer disappointment. Find out more here.
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