Leeds United news: Deja vu sets in for Helder Costa following Raphinha's glowing start

Helder Costa

Leeds United summer signing Raphinha capitalised on just his second opportunity to impress from the outset in the Premier League by grabbing the winner in his side's weekend victory over Everton. 

Since taking the reigns at Elland Road, Marcelo Bielsa has shown a reluctance to immediately integrate new signings into the starting XI, instead opting for a measured, methodical introduction over a number of weeks. 

With the exception of Robin Koch, all four of Leeds' summer signings who hadn't previously spent any time on loan at the club - including club-record signing Rodrigo - have played peripheral roles so far this season. 

But Raphinha may well have broken that trend following a pair of eye-catching, pulsating displays against Arsenal and Everton. 

The Brazilian was in rampant form in the opening stages at Goodison Park, dribbling with searing pace and providing a cutting edge in a fluid attacking midfield role. 

Having watched his teammates squander myriad opportunities in front of goal, crash the post and have a goal-bound effort cleared off the line, Raphinha took matters into his own hands with one swipe of the left boot. 

A rasping effort evaded the reach of Jordan Pickford and found its way into the bottom right corner to gift the Whites the three points their accomplished display so richly deserved. 


In the midst of the optimism that underpinned the post-match feeling, there will be one player left with a pervading sense of deja vu and concerned by Raphinha's seamless transition to life in the Premier League.

The player in question is, of course, Helder Costa. 

Costa has been at a similar juncture before: following a standout Championship campaign with Wolves in the 2017/18 season, in which he bagged five goals and provided six assists in 36 appearances, his importance then diminished following their ascent into the top flight. 

The left-footed winger did start 17 games during the campaign, but the fact he was an unused substitute in 12 of Wolves' last 17 games of the season reveals how his influence diminished as the season unfolded. 

It would be premature to say that Costa is doomed to follow the same path at Leeds now the Yorkshire giants have returned to what many perceive as their natural habitat. 

After all, this is a player who started 33 times in the Championship last season, and if it weren't for Bielsa's tendency to integrate new signings slowly he may well have featured more. 

However, Costa and Raphinha possess comparable skill sets, physiques and styles of play, while they both seem at their most comfortable when cutting inside from the right wing. 

Leeds players celebrate

There's unlikely to be place for both of them in the starting XI, and Raphinha's first two Premier League starts have showcased the insatiable qualities of a player who looks a cut above any of Leeds' other wide options. 

At 23 years of age, the former Rennes winger is only bound to improve under Bielsa's stewardship, utilising his athleticism to blossom into a high pressing, all-action machine. 

That acknowledgement will give Costa legitimate cause for concern, and if his emerging positional rival stays fit it could well be a difficult season for the one-time Portugal international. 

Leeds look to have a gem on their hands in Raphinha, but at what cost will his presence come to Costa? 

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