David Prutton – Why Helder Costa could be the right brew for Leeds United
LEEDS UNITED head coach Marcelo Bielsa is said to be wanting three wingers with Leeds looking at Helder Costa at Wolves, Ryan Kent at Liverpool and Jack Harrison again at Manchester City as well as young centre-back Ben White at Brighton.
Costa obviously tops that bill and stands out because of the impact he has made on English football.
With what has happened with Wolves and how they have evolved, they are looking at players from all over the planet and very high quality players so maybe someone like Costa could become available for Leeds.
With the kind of pace that he plays at and his ability on the ball, he would be fantastic.
He certainly made an impression with Wolves and there is no disgrace with not getting any game time with them at the moment given how well they have done in the Premier League.
Costa helped get them there in the first place and you also know he can handle the rigours of what a Championship season is.
And if you look at all the players Wolves have brought in, they are pretty tough.
They are not lads who have just come in with wonderful ball skills and footwork and flair players, they can get stuck in as well and they are not scared about getting hurt and you have got to look at that as another string to his bow.
But Costa would also bring that extra bit of flair and pace and he would give Leeds another option though of course it’s also about balancing the books.
I don’t know too much about the kid Kent but you only have to look at the other Liverpool loanee in the Championship last season in Harry Wilson who did wonderfully well at Derby.
I’m not saying it’s an exact science but Kent will have worked under Jurgen Klopp, under Lee Johnson on loan at Bristol City and most recently under Steven Gerrard at Rangers and that’s three very good coaches.
I don’t know much about Gerrard on a day-to-day basis but Klopp’s ability is there for all to see and having spoken to Lee and watched his teams over his managerial career, I can see how good a coach he is.
Kent is surely a player that would benefit from being under Bielsa and if he’s anything like Wilson then he would be a great addition.
I think Jack Harrison has still got a lot to prove as a Leeds player, to be honest, and if you are getting players and putting them in the bracket of wingers or creative players then there’s a pressure on those players to have an impact on games that Leeds couldn’t decide last season.
They need to create something and put the ammunition on a plate for the likes of Kemar Roofe and Patrick Bamford though after that it’s then up to the centre-forwards to actually score the goals.
But, from a creation point of view, I will be very intrigued to see how Marcelo goes about setting his team up because we have seen different ways of getting around it in the Championship and having these other options gives Leeds another way of going about winning a football match.
Another defensive option is also good to have because we have seen the permutations of who has played.
We have had Kalvin Phillips in there but you would say Pontus Jansson and Liam Cooper are the first choices at centre-back but they do need another option from an injury and disciplinary point of view and a young player like White would also be good for competition for places.
I am not saying get as many people in as you possibly can but there’s different ways of setting up a team.
You look at what Neil Warnock used to do in the Championship and three-quarters of his substitutes’ bench were attacking players.
In some games you need to consolidate but if Leeds want to get themselves out in front as soon as possible then they have got to make sure they are dictating play, dominating possession and creating more chances and more creative players will help that.
You have got the ability of Jack Clarke and with Harrison he needs to bring consistency to his game.
You can’t rely on Pablo Hernandez to be a guardian angel every time and Gjanni Alioski ended up being better at full-back which was bizarre but he brought a consistency to his game there that we had not seen before.
Samu Saiz has moved on and, from the point of view of needing those creative players, Bamford needs something that helps to bring out his game and I say that with an understanding that he has got a responsibility to be better next season.
But any centre-forward is only as good as the service he receives and look at what happened with Chris Wood. You get balls into him in the right possible places and suddenly you have got the top scorer in the league.
The search for three wingers shows a very broad-minded approach to what Marcelo wants to do next season. But that’s also to be expected with someone like Marcelo as no stone is going to be left unturned in finding out how you go about getting promoted.
It looks like Leeds are covering quite a broad spectrum with who they are going for.
You are looking at one player who is relatively proven at this level, you are looking at Jack who needs to do a bit more and then two younger players.
With White there would be an element of the unknown and then there’s Kent with the teams and managers that he has played for.
If you are looking at potential then I think the potential is definitely there but any player that comes in is coming to a club that should have gone up automatically last season.
If you look at the position they were in, the man they managed to recruit and the form they were in, Leeds should have gone up.
So whoever comes in has got to be able to take the pressure of – yes, it was a lovely season and we enjoyed the quirkiness and eccentricities of Marcelo Bielsa and the way he got the team playing but we want to get back in the Premier League.
There is only so much we can be rose-tinted about and Leeds fans are the most admirable bunch for being such for so long but they want results.
This season is not boom or bust but it could all change and if Leeds didn’t go up would we see Marcelo again after that? Possibly not.
Whoever comes in needs to make sure they understand what they are dealing with which is a huge juggernaut of a football club with a high level of expectation.