Transfer Talk: North London calling for Raphinha as rivals eye swoop
Raphinha has been Leeds' shining light since his move from Rennes in October 2020.
The Brazilian, 25, bagged 11 goals and provided three assists in the league last season as the West Yorkshire club survived the drop by the skin of their teeth.
Having caught the eye of North London rivals Tottenham and Arsenal, who are set to battle it out for his signature, we take a look at which club he would fit in best.
Last season, Raphinha produced his best numbers since leaving Portuguese outfit Vitoria Guimaraes in 2018.
The winger usually plays on the right flank and likes to cut inside on to his stronger left foot.
Leeds’ No10 can be compared to the likes of Riyad Mahrez thanks to his combination of trickery, technical ability and vision.
He is not afraid of using his weak foot either, leaving defenders guessing whether he will decide to cut in or run down the byeline.
Raphinha slightly overperformed his expected goals mark of 10.23, while his 6.94 expected assists were over double his actual tally, highlighting that it is likely higher quality players will finish more of the chances he provides.
Spurs are reportedly weighing up an offer of £50million plus £10m in add-ons to lure Raphinha to N17.
With the exit of Steven Bergwijn to Ajax imminent and Lucas Moura likely to depart in the near future, Antonio Conte's outfit will be looking to make major squad improvements this summer.
It has recently been reported that Raphinha dreams of playing Champions League football, which hands Tottenham a huge advantage over their bitter rivals.
However, he would not be guaranteed to start as Dejan Kulusevski, 22, has looked irreplaceable on the right flank since arriving from Juventus in January, racking up 13 goal contributions in 18 league games.
That being said, Conte wants enough depth in his squad to compete on all fronts next season and therefore it is likely that there will be no set starting XI.
Arsenal have reportedly already had a bid rejected for Raphinha.
The Gunners will face a similar conundrum to Spurs if they manage to bag the Brazilian as Bukayo Saka — arguably their best player — currently occupies their right flank.
Mikel Arteta was heavily reliant on the 20-year-old last season as Nicolas Pepe has fallen out of favour.
Nevertheless, the addition of the nine-cap international would be much welcomed at the Emirates as Arsenal struggled to break down low blocks on numerous occasions last season.
If Raphinha believes in Arteta’s project, he may be convinced to put pen to paper despite a lack of top-tier European football.
The North Londoners both have plenty of attacking options but Arsenal could do with adding some experienced players and with Raphinha approaching his peak years, he is likely to benefit the Gunners more.
Spurs have also been linked with Everton’s Richarlison, who seems to be the better fit for Conte’s system. And with Harry Winks likely to head in the other direction, this deal seems more likely.
That bodes well for Arteta who could boast three Brazilians up front next season in Gabriel Martinelli, Raphinha and Gabriel Jesus — if they can agree deals for the Leeds talisman and Manchester City hotshot.
Knowing they must not risk falling behind the top four, it will not be surprising to see the Gunners go all out for Raphinha, who will feel at home alongside his fellow countrymen.