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5 probable destinations for Raphinha

Raphinha has been a lone spark for Leeds United this season.
Raphinha has been a lone spark for Leeds United this season.
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Barely a year ago, newly promoted Leeds United, led by Raphinha, Kalvin Phillips and Patrick Bamford, captured the hearts of fans. Marcelo Bielsa's men played a brave brand of open, attacking and industrious football. The Whites were rewarded with an impressive ninth-place finish, earning 59 points while outscoring the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal.

Less than a year later, Bielsa is gone and Leeds are hurtling towards relegation. The Whites have a meagre 23 points from 28 games, conceding a league-worst 64 goals, including 20 last month. Everton are just a point behind Leeds despite playing three fewer games, while Burnley trail the Whites by two points and have two games in hand.

Marcelo Bielsa’s set to leave Leeds after poor performances this season. Lawyers now discussing his exit. Former Leipzig manager Jesse Marsch close to be appointed as new head coach. ⚪️🚨 #LUFCTalks still ongoing between Leeds board and Marsch - first called by @David_Ornstein. https://t.co/5YArtvQxbU

Raphinha the lone bright spark in Leeds United's forgettable campaign

Leeds have been crippled by injuries, with Patrick Bamford and Kalvin Phillips missing 21 and 16 league games, respectively. In their absence, Brazilian winger Raphinha has been the only positive for the Whites.

The wideman is the club's leading scorer this campaign, bagging nine goals and providing two assists. His direct running, clever dribbling and delivery from set-pieces have reportedly caught the eye of England's elite clubs.

Leeds have no intention to sell Brazilian winger Raphinha in January. West Ham asked for him but deal looks more than complicated, as per @JacobSteinberg. 🇧🇷 #WHUFCLeeds are still thinking of Takumi Minamino on loan from Liverpool in case Summerville will leave the club. #LUFC

Signed from Rennais in October 2020 for over £16 million, Raphinha is expected to depart Elland Road at the end of the season. Reports claim Leeds have already turned down a club-record offer from West Ham United for Raphinha during the winter window.

On that note, here's a look at five clubs who could sign the Brazilian international this summer:


#5 West Ham United

Aaron Cresswell (#3) grapples with Raphinha during the Leeds-West Ham game
Aaron Cresswell (#3) grapples with Raphinha during the Leeds-West Ham game

West Ham United reportedly tried to sign the Leeds star in January, and their recent stuttering form vindicates their attempt to sign the Brazilian. The Hammers have drawn two and lost one of their last five league games but remain in the hunt for a top-four finish.

🚨 West Ham are keen on a shock raid on Leeds for their Raphinha. David Moyes want to improve his attacking options this month and has made the Brazilian star a priority.(Source: Daily Mirror) https://t.co/DKhg79F31q

David Moyes has done wonders with wingers in London, with the likes of Jarrod Bowen, Said Benrahma and Pablo Fornals doing well under the Scottish coach. With Andriy Yarmolenko's contract up this summer, it wouldn't be a surprise if West Ham return for Raphinha and ask him to take on the Ukrainian's No. 7 shirt.


#4 Liverpool

Liverpool's Andy Robertson (#26) challenges Raphinha (left)
Liverpool's Andy Robertson (#26) challenges Raphinha (left)

This year's January window saw rumours linking Liverpool with a move for a new winger. West Ham's Jarrod Bowen and Raphinha were among the names mentioned.

The Reds, who have been reluctant to spend big under the Fenway Sports Group's ownership, brought in Luis Diaz from Porto for £40.5 million. The Colombian prefers to operate on the left and should challenge Sadio Mane for minutes.

Excl: Salah and his agent have no intention to accept current new contract bid from Liverpool. Talks have broken down since December, as things stand 🚨🇪🇬 #LFCMo’s priority is to stay - but not at current conditions. Let’s see Liverpool next move.More: youtu.be/9j3SjYG5i00 https://t.co/2cAY6KmmkV

Meanwhile, there have been reports that negotiations on Mohamed Salah's contract (expiring in 2023) have not been progressing well. It would be a shock to see the Egyptian superstar leave the Reds. However, Leeds' 25-year-old Brazilian Raphinha could prove to be a potential replacement if the unthinkable happens.

This is one to keep an eye on.


#3 Manchester United

Aaron Wan-Bissaka (left) challenges Leeds' #18 in a Premier League game.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (left) challenges Leeds' #18 in a Premier League game.

Entering this season, there were fears Manchester United perhaps had too many options out wide.

With Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood all playing on the flanks rather than through the middle, these concerns were valid. The Red Devils did, after all, also add Jadon Sancho (£76.5 million from Borussia Dortmund) to the mix.

Eight months later, Martial (loaned to Sevilla) and Greenwood (suspended) are no longer part of the picture. Rashford is woefully out of form, while Sancho, who was expected to play on the right, is regularly deployed on the left flank instead.

#mufc are in the race to sign £22.5m Leeds United winger Raphinha. Liverpool and Man City are also interested in the Brazilian's signature. [tuttomercato]

As things stand, the Red Devils suddenly appear short of options on the wings. Could they move for Leeds United's main man? Stranger things have happened.


#2 Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann
Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann

In December last year, reports claimed Bayern Munich had agreed a shock transfer to sign Raphinha. It turned out to be a false alarm, but it is easy to see why the Bavarians would be interested in the Leeds winger.

Bayern Munich are yet to make any interest known to Leeds United for Raphinha. A January move is unlikely despite press reports in Brazil [@GrahamSmyth] https://t.co/EJPxNL8mCz

At the time, there were doubts about Kingsley Coman's future in Bavaria. However, the French international has signed a new contract with the Bundesliga giants. Bayern also have Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane on the wings, which means there is no pressing need to add another wideman.

However, with Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski now 32 and 33, respectively, the German side will need attacking reinforcements shortly.


#1 Chelsea

Christian Pulisic (#10, R) gets past Leeds United's Raphinha
Christian Pulisic (#10, R) gets past Leeds United's Raphinha

Do Chelsea really need another forward? After all, the Blues have spent nearly £300 million on Kai Havertz, Romelu Lukaku, Christian Pulisic, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech in the last two years.

However, apart from occasional flashes of brilliance from Ziyech and Havertz, Chelsea's forwards have largely drawn blanks. Pulisic, Werner and Ziyech all like to drift in from the flanks, where Callum Hudson-Odoi, Reece James, Ben Chilwell and Marcos Alonso are already competing for places.

Raphinha scores from the spot.💙 0-1 ⚪️ [28’] #CheLee

Nevertheless, it would not be surprising to see at least some high-profile departures from Stamford Bridge at the end of the season. Players such as Pulisic are reportedly unhappy with their playing time. Moreover, off-field issues such as the potential sale of the club are not helping matters.

Chelsea's attack has appeared to lack directness at times and can be slow, laboured and ponderous. Raphinha's direct and straightforward approach could be just what Thomas Tuchel and co. could need.


Where does Mane rank in Paul Merson's 5 greatest Liverpool signings of the Klopp era? Click here

Edited by Bhargav
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