Leeds will look to wrap up the permanent signings of two more loanees in the next few weeks after tying down Helder Costa.
The 26-year-old Portugal international has been on loan at Elland Road since last summer from Wolves. His deal always contained an obligation to make permanent this summer and Leeds confirmed that on Tuesday. He has agreed a four-year contract and has cost United £16million.
Costa has made 43 appearances for Marcelo’s Bielsa’s men this season, scoring four times. He missed Saturday’s win at Blackburn through injury, but is expected to return to the squad to face Stoke.
Leeds, however, are unlikely to be done there. They are now expected to spend another £13m to tie down two other Bielsa favourites in Jack Harrison and Illan Meslier.
Manchester City loanee Harrison has spent the past two seasons on loan with United and has developed into a decent footballer under Bielsa’s guidance. Naturally talented, Harrison struggled to add the end result to his game during his first season at Elland Road.
This season, the player has been an ever present for Leeds, having scored six goals and laid on eight assists.
Leeds paid City a £2m loan fee last summer, but are now expected to push through with the permanent £8m option on his deal.
Speaking back in April, the player made it clear he wants to secure a permanent switch.
“They’re banging on their chest and saying ‘we are Leeds’. All the staff, all the fans, all the players that have been here for a long time, the owner. You see how much it means to each and every one of them.
“I want to do everything I can to help them get the Premier League. Hopefully I could still be with them next season. We never know what is going to happen. It’s hard to describe if you’re here every week and you see the fans. You kind of get the sensation and you understand how much it means to them.”
Meslier deal also in pipeline
It’s a similar story with French goalkeeper Meslier, who has made the No 1 spot his own in recent weeks. Signed last summer from Lorient on loan, the 20-year-old has been trusted with the gloves after Kiko Casilla’s lengthy ban.
Casilla has two more matches on the sidelines before being eligible for a first-team recall.
However, there exists theories that Casilla may never play for Leeds again. Bielsa also has a tendency to stay loyal to those currently in his side.
Leeds have the option to make Meslier’s deal a permanent £4.75m signing. It now seems they will do so as a reward for his elevation into the first team.
The current Championship leaders need a maximum of 10 points from their five remaining games to be certain of a Premier League return.