'We Can't Let Him Leave' - Exclusive: Whelan reacts to breaking Leeds transfer news
Leeds United are refusing to offload Helder Costa in January despite concerns about the winger’s form – and the decision is the right one.
That is according to former Leeds forward Noel Whelan, who spoke exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley about the Portugal international.
Football Insider revealed earlier this week that Costa is set to stay at the club beyond the January window.
The one-time Portugal international signed for Leeds on a permanent basis in a £15million deal following a season-long loan during the club’s promotion-winning campaign.
He is an excellent footballer but his brilliance is only sporadic, a fact which has frustrated Leeds fans and Marcelo Bielsa alike.
The Argentine hasn’t given Costa a single minute of football since he was a half-time substitute against West Ham on 11 December; Leeds have played three times in that period.
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Whelan, a lifelong Leeds fan, has huge reservations over Costa as a player but maintains that the club are right to persist with him.
He told Football Insider: “Look, he signed off [last season] season on fire. There’s no doubt about that. We saw the Helder Costa that we paid a lot of money for.
“But the biggest issue with him is consistency in his performances and the ability to affect a game when he comes on.
“That’s been lacking the past months or so. You need players that we’ve paid a lot of money for to come on and make a difference, like Pablo Hernandez did against Newcastle.
“Players need to show the manager that they deserve to be in the team by putting pressure on Jack Harrison and the other wingers. And Costa has not done that.
“It’s frustrating for the fans. It gets them agitated because they know the real Costa is inside there, but I don’t understand why he can’t show it week in, week out.
“With that being said, you can’t let a player leave when he has that ability to come on and do something special, you need that in the Premier League to be safe and to win games.”
Leeds decision comes amid transfer talk linking Adama Traore with what would be a sensational transfer to Elland Road.
Recruitment – as well as holding onto players – might be essential for Leeds’ hope of survival amid an ever-growing list of injuries and concerns about burnout.