Two sources have claimed Leeds winger Helder Costa is poised to reunite with Nuno Espirito Santo in Saudi Arabia, while a third report stated another forward will soon follow.
The Angola international, 28, spent last season on loan with Valencia. Costa began brightly in Spain, though saw his role diminish once Bryan Gil of Tottenham also arrived on loan.
Costa returned to west Yorkshire in the summer, though the £15m signing’s future looks destined to lay elsewhere.
The winger has been involved in Leeds’ pre-season training sessions, though wasn’t taken on the tour of Australia. As such, he has not registered a single minute of action across the club’s five friendlies.
Now, two separate sources from the middle east have put Costa on the cusp of a surprise switch to Saudi Arabia.
Firstly, Ittistudio journalist, Abu Omar, tweeted a ‘final agreement’ has been reached for Costa to join Saudi side Al-Ittihad.
They are managed by former Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo who brought the best out of Costa during his time at Molineux.
Adding further detail to the claim, fellow journalist, Ahmad Al-Ajlan, tweeted the structure of the reported move will be a loan with an option to buy in 2023.
Al-Ajlan added the contract on offer is close to being settled.
Second forward facing axe
While not going as far as the middle eastern reports, the Yorkshire Evening Post did confirm Al-Ittihad are interested in Costa who they deem ‘surplus to requirements’.
They also noted that once he departs, fellow winger Ian Poveda is expected to follow Costa out of the exit door.
Poveda was loaned out to Blackburn Rovers last season, though saw his chance to impress cut short through a significant ankle injury.
Both Costa and Poveda’s current contracts at Leeds expire in 2024, meaning permanent exits in the next 12 months are likely.
Helder Costa still not required despite Raphinha exit
If Costa has played his final match for Leeds, he’ll leave with figures of eight goals and 11 assists in 71 matches.
The bulk of those returns came while in the Championship with Costa failing to establish himself in limited opportunities in the top flight.
Raphinha’s exit may have given him hope that might change, though the Whites have bought well in the form of Brenden Aaronson and Luis Sinisterra.
Joe Gelhardt will continue to push for a prominent role, while Patrick Bamford is finally over his injury woes.
Jack Harrison, Daniel James and Rodrigo will also ensure Jesse Marsch has plenty of selection dilemmas to dissect, and it appears Costa won’t be in that equation.
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