Leeds United target loan deals for Wolves winger Costa and Brighton centre-back White

Leeds United are targeting loan deals for Wolverhampton Wanderers winger Helder Costa and young Brighton defender Ben White.

Thursday, 6th June 2019, 12:34 pm
Helder Costa battles with Huddersfield Town's Aaron Mooy.

The pair are on United’s radar as Marcelo Bielsa pushes to secure a number of his targets before Leeds begin pre-season training at the end of this month.

Costa, the Portuguese who Wolves signed from Benfica for a record £13m in 2017, would represent a significant coup and is expected to be made available in this window after a bit-part role in the Premier League last season.

Ben White challenges Fernando Llorente during an FA Cup tie between Newport County and Tottenham Hotspur.

United will be priced out of a deal if Wolves attempt to move Costa on permanently but the Elland Road club are looking to see if an agreement can be reached with Wolves and Costa’s agent, Jorge Mendes.

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Costa, 25, was heavily involved in Wanderers’ title-winning year in the Championship in 2017-18 and his pace and direct play has attracted Bielsa’s attention.

White, meanwhile, is back on United’s radar after first drawing interest from West Yorkshire last summer and is wanted by Bielsa to strengthen his centre-back ranks.

The 21-year-old was put forward as an option in Bielsa’s first transfer window as head coach but Bielsa ruled out a move after deciding he had sufficient cover across his backline.

Leeds, however, have continued to monitor White, who spent the 2017-18 season on loan at Newport County and finished last term with Peterborough United in League One.

White is a product of Brighton’s academy and turned professional in 2016 but he has been limited to two League Cup appearances for the club and the centre-back positions at The Amex have been dominated by Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk. The pair missed just five Premier League games between them this season.

Liam Cooper and Pontus Jansson were Bielsa’s pairing at Elland Road for much of the Championship term but while Cooper is expected to take up a new contract this summer, Jansson’s future will be open to question if major offers materialise for him.

White is seen as competition for both of them, rather than a replacement for either, and he is likely to be made available by Brighton again after the club staved off relegation to the EFL last month.

Whilst Bielsa is keen on landing White, wingers are a priority for the United boss and up to three could arrive at Elland Road before the transfer window closes in August.

Leeds intend to re-sign Jack Harrison and have already made Manchester City aware of their desire to bring the 22-year-old back the Yorkshire for a second season.

Harrison played regularly under Bielsa, predominantly on the left-hand side, and made 39 league appearances including two in the Championship play-off semi-finals.

He was taken by Pep Guardiola on City’s pre-season tour last summer, prior to accepting a full-season loan at United, but has not yet broken through at first-team level under the Spaniard.

A new winger was Bielsa’s outfield requirement in the January window but the last-minute collapse of Daniel James’ proposed loan from Swansea City left him without an additional option for the second half of the campaign.

James had passed a medical with Leeds and was lined up to join on a temporary basis with a view to a £9m move if United were promoted to the Premier League but the late refusal of former Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins to finalise the switch prompted its collapse.

Manchester United are now on the verge of signing James for £15m having negotiated personal terms and invited him for a medical yesterday.

James took a leave of absence from the Wales squad to begin the formalities at Carrington, four months on from Leeds narrowly missing out on his signature.

Bielsa is hopeful that a number of his targets will be secured by the time pre-season training starts later this month. United’s squad are pencilled into begin work on June 24, a repeat of the schedule arranged for Bielsa’s first summer in charge.

United have two friendlies arranged in Australia next month, one against Manchester United and the other against Western Sydney Wanderers, but are still to confirm any domestic fixtures.