Leeds United are set to spend some money on the transfer deadline day as they are reportedly closing in on signing Rennes winger Raphinha. The 23-year-old winger, who joined the French club last year, is set to join the newly-promoted Premier League side.
According to TalkSport, the Whites are going to sign Raphinha for a fee of around £20 million. He joined Rennes from Sporting Lisbon last summer, and has progressed well in Ligue 1.
The Brazilian winger has three years remaining on his current deal at Rennes. In 30 games for Rennes in the 2019-20 season, the winger scored seven times and assisted five times. He has scored once provided two assists in six league games so far this season.
What will Raphinha add to Leeds United?
Leeds United have made a brilliant start to their Premier League campaign, and have gone toe to toe against Liverpool and Manchester City in the opening round of fixtures; something not many fans expected. The Whites’ attack has been deadly, while their pressing has caught several Premier League sides by surprise.
The side have made smart additions in the transfer window, bringing in reinforcements in defence with the signing of Robin Koch and Diego Llorente, as well as signing attacker Rodrigo.
The Whites may need 1-2 more additions to add some depth to their squad, especially in midfield and wide areas. Pablo Hernandez’s injury issues have been a sign of concern as he can play in two positions – attacking midfield and right-wing.
Helder Costa, Bielsa’s first-choice right-winger, has had a good start in the Premier League, but the Whites don’t have other strong options. Youngster Ian Poveda impressed in his cameo against his former club Manchester City, but he is inexperienced and it remains to be seen if he can maintain the same levels throughout the season.
Raphinha could be a very good addition for Leeds as the left-footed right-winger has speed, dribbling ability, and can also chip with goals and assists.
The Brazilian primarily plays on the right, but has also played as a second striker – a role that Bielsa uses in his side. He could be a natural replacement for Pablo Hernandez as he is capable of playing both positions.
So far this season, Raphinha has managed 1.5 key passes a game, and has been an important player in the Rennes attack. An agile player who likes taking on players, he has also managed 1.7 dribbles a game this season. His numbers were even better last season, and if he can adapt to life in the Premier League quickly, he will be a big asset for Leeds.
Raphinha’s addition will give Bielsa more options and able to rotate his squad without having a dip in quality. Leeds’ high-intensity football could drain the players in the second half of the season, which is why they need a strong squad to ensure that the results don’t get affected.
Stats via Whoscored