Former Leeds United striker Noel Whelan has tipped Raphinha to become a ‘god’ at Elland Road, claiming he will stay put at the club.
The Lowdown: Wonderful first season
The Whites enjoyed a superb first season back in the Premier League, finishing ninth and gaining many admirers for their playing style.
Raphinha was undoubtedly one of Leeds’ standout players, scoring six goals and registering nine assists in the league, having joined from Rennes in last summer’s transfer window.
The Brazilian has been loosely linked with a summer exit to Liverpool, but Whelan believes the 24-year-old will stay at Elland Road for another while yet.
The Latest: Raphinha tipped to stay put
Speaking to Football Insider, Whelan said that the Brazilian could go on to become a true superstar at the club as he proclaimed:
“The club have looked after him very well. Signing any player is a gamble, whether they are established or not. Harry Kane could go to Manchester City and not do well.
“We’ve seen it before, Robbie Keane went to Liverpool from Tottenham and wasn’t the same player.
“Raphinha’s lit up the Premier League, he’s been fantastic. He gets you off your seat and plays with a freedom you can only admire.
“I just think the club have looked after him and he respects what they have done for him. Why would you not be excited about the future? There are big things happening, plenty of investment into Elland Road.
“Hopefully we can sign some stars in the summer as well. Everything is looking bright and Raphinha looks comfortable.
“He’s not been welcomed by the fans yet but when that happens he’ll be loving it and not wanting to leave Leeds even more. He will be a god, trust me.”
The Verdict: Crucial player moving forward
Leeds’ aim must be to reach the European places next season, with Marcelo Bielsa and his players needing to dream big and go one better than their 2020/21 efforts.
For that to happen, they need to keep hold of players of Raphinha’s quality – Whelan has hailed him as ‘incredible’ in the past – with the attacker possessing quick feet, unpredictability and a strong work ethic.
If Leeds were to lose someone of his class, it would immediately represent a backwards step, highlighting the importance of keeping hold of him if they are to keep the curve moving upward.
In other news, a pundit has provided a bleak outlook for one Leeds player – find out who it is here.
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