Raphinha has probably been the club’s shining light in what has been a sparkling return to Premier League football for Leeds United this season. Despite last Sunday’s 4-2 defeat to Arsenal at The Emirates, Leeds sit comfortably in mid-table mediocrity and should they win their game in hand – they would re-leapfrog Arsenal. Raphinha has been crucial for Leeds, but with his form, comes rumours of a potential exit.
Clocking up 18 appearances for Leeds in the Premier League, 24-year-old summer signing Raphinha has been involved in nine goals – scoring four and creating five, his last assist coming in the form of the corner that Pascal Struijk powered into the back of the Arsenal net. Liverpool were the first Premier League heavyweight to be linked, while Barcelona have also been touted as a possible source of interest.
Now, we can add Manchester United to that list. Sport Italia journalist Gianluigi Longari has claimed on Twitter that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men are considering a move for Raphinha come the summer. It is not yet understood what kind of figure Leeds rate the former Rennes and Sporting Lisbon man at, having paid £17million in October. But it is likely to be double, if not more than their initial outlay.
He has made himself one of the club’s best players, and potentially one of the most talented that the club have possessed in the Premier League era – he is that good. Certainly if he was to leave, Leeds would have to spend big to bring in a replacement – or find an equally good bargain that Victor Orta managed to strike last summer when they signed him from Ligue 1 side Rennes. Manchester United fans think they have the ideal solution.
Dan James was constantly linked with Leeds in January 2019 and almost joined the club. We all know what the Amazon Prime documentary showed, James waiting at Elland Road for a deal to go through – having already passed a medical, agree personal terms and even picking the number 21 shirt. More than two years on from that point, he has since joined United – become a regular, and then fallen down the pecking order.
United fans think including the Wales international in a player-plus-cash deal for Raphinha might just tempt Leeds into selling him. Leeds fans, though, might have other ideas when fronted with that suggestion.