"Runs back much more than Neymar" - Club director says Chelsea-linked forward is 'special'

[L-to-R] Neymar Jr. and Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel.
[L-to-R] Neymar Jr. and Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel.

Leeds United's Director of Football Victor Orta has praised Peacocks forward and Chelsea target Raphinha while comparing him with Brazilian superstar Neymar Jr.

He feels that the 25-year-old has similar qualities to Neymar but helps out much more defensively.

The Blues have been linked with both players in the ongoing transfer window. Chelsea are closer to signing Raphinha, having submitted a bid worth £55 million plus add-ons to Leeds, as per the Daily Mail.

Thomas Tuchel's men are primarily competing with Barcelona for the forward's signature.

As per ESPN, Chelsea are also "alert" to Neymar Jr.'s situation at Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). The 30-year-old has reportedly decided the time is right for him to leave PSG and is weighing up his options in the market.

Contact has been made with Chelsea regarding Neymar. [@LaurensJulien- ESPN] #cfc…

Orta, who has been with Leeds since 2017, is likely to have seen Raphinha from close quarters. He raved about the Brazilian on Cope's "Great Match" show, saying (as quoted by The Yorkshire Evening Post via HITC):

"He's good. He has good legs, physically very good, works a lot off the ball. He is an exciting player, and then going forward, he can take on players, get away from players, he's difficult to play against."

Orta went on to add:

"He's one of the guys who runs the most in the league. He's a special player, he's got similarities to Neymar. He plays well on the wing but runs back much more than Neymar, he defends much more than Neymar."

How did Chelsea-linked duo Raphinha and Neymar fare last season?

Leeds United endured a dismal 2021-22 campaign and barely survived relegation on the final matchday, finishing 17th in the Premier League.

One of the lone bright spots for them over the course of the season was Raphinha. The winger scored 11 times in 35 league matches, including one on the final day against Brentford to ensure the Peacocks stayed in the topflight.

Raphinha wants to go to Barcelona but Leeds would prefer to sell to higher bidders Chelsea ⚖️

Neymar Jr., meanwhile, endured an injury-riddled season. He featured only 28 times across all competitions for PSG, recording 13 goals and eight assists.

The Parisians also endured a sub-par season as they failed to win the UEFA Champions League and exited the French Cup early on as well.

It's worth noting that both players are extremely likely to make it into Brazil's squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. This could influence their decision to switch clubs this summer amidst interest from Chelsea.

Raphinha has made nine appearances for the Selecao, netting three goals and recording two assists. Neymar, meanwhile, has played 119 times for Brazil, scoring 74 times and laying out 51 assists.

The 30-year-old is three goals behind Pele's all-time scoring record of 77 goals for Brazil.

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Edited by Arjun Panchadar
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