Raphinha had an excellent 2021/22 season for Leeds United as the club secured Premier League football. The club started miserably and sacked manager, Marcelo Bielsa. However, Jesse Marsch helped Leeds United secure Premier League football on the final day.
Many top European clubs have been linked with a move for the Brazilian. However, Barcelona and Chelsea have emerged as frontrunners. Arsenal are also interested in signing the player but they have fallen behind in the race.
In the midst of all the transfer speculation, Victor Orta, Director of Football at Leeds United has piled up praise for Raphinha.
Victor Orta went on to say:
“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. 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.”
Is Raphinha on the same level as Neymar?
Victor Orta compared Raphinha to Neymar in terms of their ability to take on defenders. However, two good seasons cannot be equated with a decade of world-class performances. Neymar has showcased his abilities on the European and global stage. Meanwhile, Raphinha is yet to prove his abilities on the European stage and even internationally.
He also said that Raphinha is defensively more sound than Neymar. However, it is intriguing to note that both wingers are utilized differently by their respective clubs.
Paris Saint-Germain prefers to play with aggressive and robust midfielders like Idrissa Gueye and Ander Herrera. It is primarily to afford protection to their defence and freedom to their front three. The responsibility of creating opportunities and converting them rests entirely on their world-class forwards.
Meanwhile, Leeds United opts to play with fluid box-to-box midfielders that make late runs in the box to support the offensive gameplay. In such a system, the wingers are required to track back more to assist their backline.
Undoubtedly, Raphinha contributes more defensively than Neymar but it is down to the tactics employed more than the willingness of the player. A comparison of their defensive abilities seems unfair when they play in different systems.
Where will Raphinha be at the end of the transfer window?
Arsenal made an offer for the Brazilian in the region of £35 million. The offer was rejected by Leeds United as it is well short of their asking price for the winger. Chelsea have reportedly agreed on a deal with Leeds United for the winger. However, the winger has not accepted the offer from Chelsea.
Raphinha has his heart set on a move to Barcelona instead. However, the Blaugrana are yet to agree on a deal with the club. At present, it seems likely that the player will end up at the Spotify Camp Nou. Although it is yet to be seen if Barcelona will be able to meet the club’s expectations.
Leeds United are waiting for Barcelona to make an updated offer for the winger. Chelsea have agreed to a £55 million fee with Leeds but are waiting for Raphinha to accept personal terms. Leeds United wants to settle the player’s future in the coming week and all eyes are now on Barcelona.
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