Former Leeds United striker Noel Whelan has said that it would be a ‘disaster’ if the club sold Raphinha this summer following an excellent first season at Elland Road.
The Lowdown: Raphinha shine for Leeds
The Latest: Whelan fearful of Raphinha exit
Speaking to Football Insider, Whelan admits that he is worried about Raphinha exiting Elland Road at a point when Leeds are trying to narrow the gap with those at the top of the league. He said:
“In my opinion, there’s no deal to be done. We’re trying to catch up to Man City and build a team that’s going to compete. We’ve shown that we can do that against them this season with Raphinha in the side.
“If we’re really going to be considering selling one of our best assets, where does it leave us as a club? After one season having Raphinha on the books, I’m hoping that’s not what we are right now. We’re certainly trying to build something special at the club.
“We’re playing the right way and we’re going to add more quality in the summertime. So, if we’re going to sell players like that, I’m not sure where it’s going to leave the fans. They’re going to want to pay money to see players like that at Elland Road and they’ll be angry if not.
“Next season, fingers crossed, we’re having fans in there. He’s one of our star assets so we’ve got to be strong enough to fend off the big guns in Europe and in England. If we sell him, it’s a disaster for the club.”
The Verdict: Must be kept on
Under no circumstances should Raphinha be allowed to leave Leeds this summer, considering his importance to the team. Marcelo Bielsa needs to make his squad even stronger in the next transfer window, bringing in new faces in but also keeping hold of those who are invaluable to him.
Raphinha is certainly one of those, providing a huge threat from the right-hand side, whether he’s dribbling past opponents – his average of 1.9 dribbles per game is the highest of any Leeds player in the league this season – producing defence splitting-passes or finding the net himself.
Making better teams stronger, especially those with which you’re competing, and weakening your own side makes no sense whatsoever, even if a huge bid comes in for the winger. Whelan is right – Leeds cannot afford to cash in on the 24-year-old.
In other news, Leeds are reportedly battling some heavyweight clubs for the signing of a winger this summer. Find out who it is here.
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