Leeds have allowed winger Helder Costa to leave the club on loan, having seen his first-team prospects at Elland Road hit by the signing of Daniel James.
The 23-year-old Wales winger has signed in a £25m deal, becoming Leeds’ second most expensive signing in the process. Signing on a five-year deal, his arrival ends a long chase by manager Marcelo Bielsa. Indeed, he almost signed for Leeds in January 2019, before the move broke down at the last.
After Leeds failed to land James first time around, United instead made a summer 2019 splash to sign Costa from Wolves. He joined on an initial loan, a deal that became a permanent £16m deal last summer.
Bielsa put a lot of trust in Costa initially. He made 43 appearances as Leeds won the Championship title. And he started in Bielsa’s line-up as Leeds began life in the Premier League with a 4-3 loss at Liverpool and then a 4-3 home win over Fulham. Indeed, he netted twice in that win over the Cottagers at Elland Road.
However, he was to score only once more that season – in a defeat at Arsenal. Ultimately, the signing of Raphinha saw the Portuguese star lose his place in Bielsa’s line-up.
Now James has arrived and Costa‘s first-team prospects have been further restricted.
As per widespread reports, he is now en-route to Spain, having agreed to join Valencia. He will sign for the LaLiga side on a season’s loan.
Costa also had options to move to Sheffield United, an unnamed Turkish club and another LaLiga side. But the Yorkshire Evening Post claims Valencia have won the race.
Leeds’ director of football Victor Orta is now understood to have cut the deal with Jorge Mendes’ GestiFute agency.
“It’s difficult to say,” Orta said earlier earlier when asked to clarify Costa’s situation.
“We have a really good conversation and we have a really good relationship. I have a really good relationship with his representatives. Obviously we understand the position.
“It is the same as we said before, if all the people can be agreed, our good relationship is going to help in this situation.”
Leeds United, meanwhile, have also confirmed young winger Robbie Gotts has joined League Two Barrow on a permanent deal.
Daniel James explains Leeds move
James, meanwhile, has explained why he did not think twice when the chance to sign for Leeds emerged again this summer.
“It’s been a whirwind for me, I’m very grateful to the club. They wanted me from two and a half years ago and I’m delighted it’s done.
“There’s always been interest since I nearly signed from Swansea, and it all just happened quickly in the last day or two. It all happened very fast, this is where I want to be moving forward.
“It feels brilliant to be here. There’s been some jokes made in the boardroom [about the events of January 2019] and it’s actually done now. This feels a lot like deja vu, but it’s all done now. I’m delighted though that’s it over the line. I can’t wait for that first game against Liverpool.”
He added: “For me and my football career it’s the right decision. I’ve had an unbelievable time and made some great friends at Man United. But for me, it was the right time to move on.
“[Marcelo] Bielsa is a top manager, it’s always nice to be wanted by him. It’s one of the big reasons why I’m here today.”