Leeds United could find it hard to keep hold of Raphinha after his impressive form for Brazil, according to Sky Sports pundit Kevin Phillips.
The Lowdown: Raphinha on fire for Brazil
The 24-year-old has been fantastic for the Whites over the last year and his form earned him a call-up to Brazil’s squad during the current international break.
Raphinha made an immediate impression on his Selecao debut, registering two assists in his country’s 3-1 win away to Venezuela on Friday, showing exactly what he is capable of producing.
The Latest: Leeds exit soon?
Speaking to Football Insider, Phillips admitted that the winger’s performance will only increase the chance of him moving on from Leeds eventually, with elite clubs sure to be eyeing up a transfer. The former Sunderland striker said:
“His stock is rising, big time. To perform like that for Brazil, it doesn’t really get any better.
“We know the impact he has had on the Premier League. He has been amazing. But, to do it for Brazil is just brilliant. It puts his stock even higher.
“A performance like that has pros and cons for Leeds. On one hand you think, ‘Brilliant. He’s improving all the time.’
“But, on the other hand you fear that there will be a lot of interest from other clubs next year. They might try and nick him.
“It is great news for Leeds that he will come back buzzing and full of confidence though. Hopefully he can keep up that level of performance.”
The Verdict: Tough to keep hold of him
Much like Kalvin Phillips, in an ideal world Raphinha would stay at Leeds for the rest of his career – he has been hailed as ‘incredible’ by Phil Hay – given how important he is to Marcelo Bielsa. He is their leading scorer this season with three goals and, as per WhoScored metrics, is their best-performing player by a distance.
In reality, the Whites may have to accept that a fresh challenge could appeal to the 24-year-old in the near future, with the Brazilian perhaps keen to play for a Champions League club or a team challenging for league titles.
Whether or not it is as early as next summer remains to be seen, but as Kevin Phillips has hinted, it is difficult to see Raphinha staying at Elland Road in the long-term if he continues to thrive for club and country.
In other news, Phil Hay has provided an update regarding Leeds’ January transfer business. Read more here.
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