Recently, it has become often to hear that players coming to the Premier League from overseas need time to adapt. Look at Timo Werner and Kai Havertz at Chelsea – time after time, it has been stated that patience is required for the German duo following big-money moves from the Bundesliga to England. But Raphinha is putting that notion to bed with his performances at Leeds, and Nigel Martyn has told LeedsUnited.News why he is perfect for Marcelo Bielsa’s side.
On Wednesday night, Raphinha scored his fourth goal for the Whites in the Premier League having only joined the club from French side Rennes for £17million last summer. Werner also has four goals in the Premier League, playing four more league games but costing almost three times as much at £47.5million (Goal). Raphinha is playing out wide, too.
Clearly, Werner and Havertz are struggling at Chelsea while Brazilian ace Raphinha is firing on all cylinders. He has hit the ground running – laying on four assists as well as his four goals and at just 23, his resale value is likely to be enormous. Against Everton, he took his goal well – latching on to a perfect lay-off from Patrick Bamford to slide a stunning finish past the inspired Robin Olsen.
Yes, Leeds lost – but the performance of Raphinha and the team as a whole was encouraging. To be disappointed to lose to Everton in that manner shows just how far Bielsa’s side have come – and Martyn thinks that Raphinha deserves all the plaudits he gets. The Leeds icon also told us at LeedsUnited.News that he believes Raphinha has completely bought into Bielsa’s way of playing football.
“I had a little panic when Rodrigo and Raphinha both went off against Leicester, the two sort of attack-minded midfielders in the side – both going off was worrying,” Martyn – who played for both Leeds and Everton – said. But he is a threat and he is now getting some goals, one at Newcastle and Everton.
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“He is a threat, but he is prepared to do the work too – but is still able to produce flashes of skill in the final third. I have been really impressed with him, and hopefully he stays fit. Under Bielsa, if you want to play for him, this is what is demanded of you. It might happen down the line that some players doesn’t buy into his system, but Bielsa would move those players on quickly – he doesn’t want people that will waste his time.
“He wants people that will put the work in, you’ll be the fittest you have ever been,” Martyn continued. “To be part of it is special, you buy into it – like Raphinha has. Harrison has, Costa has when he comes on, Poveda – all the wide players work hard – which is testament to the manager. Bielsa wants honesty all over the pitch, and that’s what he gets from this bunch.”
Raphinha has become one of the club’s best players and at £17million, he is certainly considered a bargain. If any interested parties came in for the Brazilian, Leeds are hardly going to sell on the cheap – given he has a contract until the summer of 2024. There are not many players that have matched Raphinha in terms of form in the Leeds side.
If Leeds are to continue to excel and surpass expectation in this season’s Premier League, it is crucial – as Martyn says – that Raphinha stays fit. He gives Leeds that top-tier flair, goal threat and vigour that the previous Leeds side in the Championship did not have. The most-exciting thing for Leeds fans, too, is that the winger is only going to get better the more he plays under Bielsa at Elland Road.