Man Utd and Liverpool dealt transfer blow as Raphinha insists he is happy at Leeds

Martin Macdonald
Martin Macdonald Updated: 19 May 2021 16:43 CEST 4 min read
Man Utd and Liverpool dealt transfer blow as Raphinha insists he is happy at Leeds

Raphinha could stay with Leeds United beyond this summer after he insisted he was happy at the club despite continued speculation linking him with a move to Manchester United or Liverpool.

Leeds have earned plenty of admirers since being promoted to the Premier League, with Marcelo Bielsa’s swashbuckling style allowing them to quickly establish themselves at a higher level, with relegation back down to the Championship never looking likely.

One of their star players has been Raphinha, who arrived late in the transfer window following a £17 million (€20m) move from Rennes.

The Brazilian has made 18 starts in the Premier League this season, contributing five goals and five assists.

Out of every winger who has played more than 500 minutes in the league, he has the third-best tally for successful crosses sent into the box, averaging 6.7 per game which is only bettered by Pedro Neto and Willian.

His performances have generated interested glances from the two Premier League powerhouses, but he might not be leaving Leeds anytime soon.

“The club, all the people who work here, the staff and the players have really helped me develop,” Raphinha told Sky Sports.

“I’m really grateful for this and always look to do my best for them all. This creates a bond with everybody here.

“I’m really happy here and feel I’ve adapted well. I think everything’s in place for us to achieve good results working together.

“We know that Leeds are a club who belong in the Premier League. We’ll be always looking to keep the club here. We’re also aware that we’re a promoted side that needs to adapt to the league like we’re doing now. Our initial objective is to stay in the top division.”

Raphinha on ‘professor’ Bielsa

Raphinha mentions that it was the presence of legendary manager Marcelo Bielsa which became one of the key factors in his decision to leave Rennes for Leeds.

“I found out at the last minute that there was an offer from Leeds and professor Bielsa wanted me here. It all had to be resolved very quickly as the transfer window was about to close the following day,” the 24-year-old revealed.

“It’s always an easy decision when there’s genuine interest from the club and genuine interest from the manager. I think that makes the decision easier for a player. The player feels embraced and that they will be a part of the project.

“The way in which they demonstrated that they wanted me to be a part of the club, the way the manager showed how he wanted me to be a part of his team was all very important in my decision.”

Last summer, both Man Utd and Liverpool were searching for a new right winger, with the former strongly linked with a swoop for Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho, while the Reds reportedly held an interest in Watford’s Ismaila Sarr before signing Diogo Jota.