Former Watford Head of Scouting Helena Costa has very publicly made it clear that she will not be joining her former boss Ben Manga at his new club Schalke.

Costa followed Manga to Vicarage Road from Germany when he as appointed as the club’s technical director in December 2022, but within a year both had left the club.

Manga, who earned himself a tremendous reputation for unearthing young footballing talent while working at Eintracht Frankfurt, had been out of work since but was recently named as Schalke’s new director of squad planning, scouting and youth academy.

The 50-year-old from Equatorial Guinea will be looking to try and restore the German side to the heights that saw them reach the last 16 of the Champions League as recently as 2018/19.

Since then they have dropped into Bundesliga 2 and hit the buffers financially, so Manga’s ability to find players who can be successful on the pitch and/or realise significant transfer fees will be key to their regrowth.

However, it’s become clear in the last 48 hours he will be doing that without the input of Costa.

The 46-year-old Portuguese joined Eintracht in 2017 to work with Manga, and was a key part of his team as together they found players like Daichi Kamada, Evan Ndicka, Luka Jovic, Randal Kolo Muani and Sebastien Haller.

Eintracht won the Europa League in 2022, and the arrival of Manga, Costa and their scouting team was seen as something of a coup for Watford.

Costa was regularly by Manga’s side at London Colney, at home games and in the directors’ box at away matches.

A UEFA A-licence holder with a master’s degree in sports science, Costa managed Benfica’s youth team from 1997 to 2010, and had spells in charge of the national women’s teams of both Qatar and Iran.

Earlier this week a Schalke news site posted on social media that Costa had joined Manga once again to be part of his scouting team – but within a few hours Costa shared the post on her personal Instagram page with the word ‘false’ in German pasted in large letters across the top.

Watford Observer:

Later she replied to one Schalke fan to say “I’m not going!”.

It’s unclear why the pair are not working together back in Germany, as Raffael Tonello – who had been Watford’s chief scout under Manga – has been confirmed as Schalke’s new head of academy and head youth scout.

Watford Observer:

That appointment was confirmed by Schalke on their club website, who stated that Tonello had started the role on April 1.

What is also unclear is whether Manga and Tonello both starting new jobs means they have ended a period of garden leave since their departure from Vicarage Road and Watford are no longer having to pay them, or if the Hornets fully settled with them when their departure was announced in October.

Watford were approached for comment on the above but so far have declined to do so.