After making his way to Leeds United from Rennes for a fee in the region of £17M last October, Raphinha has lit up England’s top division with a series of spellbinding performances.
All season long, Leeds have injected an enraptured sense of enthrallment to the onwatching audiences with their refreshing, free-flowing, attacking style of football. And through that dynamic approach, the Brazilian winger has been instrumental.
Truthfully, the footballing, cultural and social changes entailed often result in a prolonged adaptability for players crossing borders. But Raphinha has taken little time in announcing his exuberant expertise.
In nineteen matches for Marcelo Bielsa’s side, he has already racked up four goals and five assists, all whilst maintaining an average match rating of 7.10 according to WhoScored. Across the Leeds ranks, only top scorer Patrick Bamford boasts a higher average rating, an illustration of the consistency Raphinha is already displaying.
And it does not stop there, either.
The 24-year old is, without question, the key creative component at Elland Road. Recording an impressive 1.58 successful dribbles per game and 1.89 key passes to boot, no player at Leeds United eclipses Raphinha in those departments.
Beyond the realms of statistical analysis, the former Sporting Lisbon dynamo is a pure joy to watch. Possessing typical flamboyant Brazilian flair, many top flight defenders have been subdued to a torrid time when facing up against Raphinha’s terrifying trickery and speed.
Subsequently, it comes as little wonder why the Porto Alegre native is generating a variety of interest. Football Insider has revealed that Premier League champions Liverpool are keeping tabs on the wide man, stating that Anfield scouts have been “blown away” by his promising progression.
Moreover, recent reports have linked Raphinha with a Summer switch to fierce rivals Manchester United, earmarking the forward as a potential alternative to Jadon Sancho, whom the Red Devils are still stuck in fierce negotiations with.
Although Raphinha has bedazzled the Leeds United faithful from the off, it does evoke a feeling of fear and frustration that the starlet is desired by an ever-growing range of suitors, all of whom would be able to guarantee European Football and a pay packet thoroughly exceeding his current £60,000 a week salary.
That Continental lure could prove decisive for the Brazilian.
Prior to journeying across the English Channel, Raphinha was paramount to Rennes’ surprising top-three finish, securing a spot in the Champions League for the first time in their history. Despite this, Les Rennais decided to cash in and Raphina had only learned of their desires to move him on two days before making the move.
Unsurprisingly, the manner of the saga left the Leeds flyer severely unhappy and Champions League Football may well be in his firm interests in the not-too-distant future.
Under the tactical mastermind of Marcelo Bielsa, coupled with the brilliance of Football Director Victor Orta, Leeds have crafted a very prodigious project with the foundations for a wealth of progression.
But with his scintillating showings for the Yorkshire Giants, it remains a topic of both wonder and debate whether the Whites will be able to keep Raphinha at the club beyond this season.
featured image credit sky sports