Leeds United have learned that Valencia now have no intention of meeting their transfer option on loan winger Helder Costa – and he now looks likely to return to Elland Road this summer.
The Angola international joined Leeds in an initial loan deal in summer 2019, United bringing him in in the wake of their failed promotion push. Signing from Wolves, he was viewed at the time as a potential long-term heir to the ageing Pablo Hernandez.
However, during his two seasons at Elland Road, Costa struggled to replicate his very best form. Indeed, in 61 appearances for Leeds, Costa scored just eight times and assisted in seven more.
During their first season back in the Premier League, he was given very little game-time as Leeds finished ninth.
As such, it was no surprise to see Costa allowed to depart last summer, joining Valencia on a season’s loan.
That arrangement gave Valencia the chance to make move permanent at the end of the 2021/22 campaign. And their option on the winger was worth £17.1m (€20m) – money which would have been a welcome addition to the Leeds transfer kitty.
At first, Costa settled in well into his surroundings. Given game time in LaLiga, he quickly got an assist to his name to impress his new public.
The January window, however, changed everything for Costa, with Los Che bringing in Bryan Gil from Tottenham.
The Spanish youngster quickly took Costa’s place in the side, reducing the on-loan Leeds man to a bit-part role.
Option on transfer will not be taken up
However, in recent weeks Valencia manager Jose Bordalas has changed his system with wingers no longer featuring.
That has pushed Gil out of the side and seen Costa pushed even further into the wilderness.
Now, according to El Desmarque, Valencia have told Leeds they have ‘no intention’ of taking up the option to sign him permanently. Branding the fee ‘inaccessible’, Valencia would need Leeds to seriously re-negotiate that fee down to have any chance of a permanent deal.
The report claims that instead Bordalas plans to ask Spurs instead if they can keep Gil on another year’s loan.
Gil appears way down the pecking order at Tottenham. And while Antonio Conte would prefer a permanently sale, Spurs are likely to be open to another year’s loan.
As a result, Costa’s chances of making the move permanently to the Mestalla look to be over.
As it stands, he will likely return to Leeds this summer, leaving Leeds with something of a headache.
Helder Costa a poor signing for Leeds
Leeds United will now either have to find a way to intergrate Costa back into their set-up, or find another club willing to take him.
And if they do find another club to take him on loan, they are then at risk of losing the player for an even greater loss.
The 28-year-old is contracted to Leeds until summer 2024 and they will know his peak value, especially given his age, will be this summer.
Generally speaking, Helder Costa has proven a poor signing for Leeds.
Arriving with a big reputation from Wolves, his was a signing that really excited Leeds supporters at the time.
Of course, Leeds did earn promotion with Costa playing a role in their return to the Premier League.
But he rarely displayed the qualities that convinced Leeds to spend big cash on him in the first place. And given he was their first £10m+ signing for a number of years, Costa will ultimately go down as a failure for Leeds.