Raphinha: How Chelsea, Arsenal and Barcelona target became one of the Premier League’s most coveted players

The beautiful strike towards West Brom, lifted into the high nook from outdoors the field. The first-time rocket towards Everton which took the roof off Elland Road. The penalty, gained and transformed below stress, which helped safe survival towards Brentford.

Raphinha gave Leeds supporters lots of moments to savour. His 65 Premier League appearances introduced a complete of 17 objectives, many of them spectacular, and much more moreover. The bewitching talent, the feints and nutmegs, will dwell simply as lengthy in the reminiscence.

The 25-year-old was not extensively identified to English audiences when he arrived from Rennes in 2020 however he definitely is now, his explosive performances for Leeds, and subsequently Brazil, marking him out as one of the Premier League’s most coveted players.

Barcelona need him. Arsenal and Tottenham too. But it’s now Chelsea in pole place for his signature, the Blues able to pay in extra of £50m to safe what may simply show one of the most thrilling signings of the summer time.

Raphinha has scored 17 Premier League objectives for Leeds

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Leeds supporters wouldn’t disagree.

Raphinha lit up Elland Road. With 12 assists along with the 17 objectives he scored, he had a direct hand in additional than anybody else at the membership. A talisman below each Marcelo Bielsa and Jesse Marsch, he was additionally a nightmarish proposition for opposition defenders.

“Every time I’ve watched him, I think, ‘I wouldn’t like to play against him’,” stated Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville earlier this yr. “He’s always a huge threat,” added Jamie Carragher.

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The statistics present the full extent of Raphinha’s attacking affect.

Since his debut in October 2020, the winger ranks high amongst Leeds players not only for aim involvements however for possibilities created, dribbles accomplished and photographs too.

In reality, throughout the Premier League as an entire, he ranks joint-sixth in these three metrics, behind solely a clutch of names which options Kevin de Bruyne, Heung-Min Son and Bruno Fernandes.

Raphinha's ranks extremely in key attacking metrics since his Premier League debut

Raphinha performed nearly completely on the right-hand aspect of Leeds’ assault below Bielsa and Marsch and fulfils an identical position for Brazil, however one of his greatest strengths is his unpredictability.

He is deadly when reducing inside onto his left foot however he ranked high amongst Leeds players for through-balls in addition to photographs and he can go the different approach too. Nobody made extra crosses.

Raphinha’s set-piece supply is one other half of his armoury, each from corners and from free-kicks, and his ball-striking skill can also be clear in his formidable aim risk from lengthy vary.

Since his Premier League debut, solely Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse can beat Raphinha’s seven objectives scored from outdoors the field, that quantity accounting for 40 per cent of his total complete.

Raphinha was given freedom to precise himself at Leeds – “the best thing you can do with players who are so spontaneous is let them be themselves,” stated Bielsa – however he could also be requested to choose his moments extra selectively in a staff geared in the direction of conserving the ball.

Chelsea, for instance, averaged 62 per cent possession to Leeds’ 52 per cent final season, with Thomas Tuchel typically bemoaning speculative taking pictures and wayward ending from his forwards.

Whether it is by means of a cross, a cross, or with the ball at his ft, nevertheless, Tuchel may also have famous the frequency with which Raphinha will get the ball into the opposition field.

According to Opta, Raphinha has registered 468 penalty space entries since his Premier League debut, 73 greater than Tottenham’s Son, the subsequent ahead on the record with 395, and 217 greater than West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen, the participant who ranks third on 251.

It is a reminder that Raphinha, whereas an undoubted specialist in long-range taking pictures, can also be unrivalled in his skill to get the ball into the space wherein opponents are most susceptible – and the space wherein Chelsea have so typically come up brief.

His off-the-ball work is equally interesting.

Raphinha regards Ronaldinho as his footballing idol however his eye-catching aptitude is backed up by a tireless work ethic and relentless business. He is, in that respect, the archetypal trendy ahead.

Raphinha celebrates Premier League survival with Leeds followers towards Brentford

“These days my position isn’t just about making things happen in attack, you also have to be very responsible in defence,” he stated in dialog with Sky Sports in March of final yr.

“Ever since I started playing football I’ve always liked this part of the game, the intensity of running forward and tracking back.

“It’s at all times vital {that a} participant is aware that they have to contribute as a lot in defence as they do in assault.”

That aspect of his sport made him an ideal match for Bielsa, whose man-to-man marking system calls for urgent throughout the pitch and near-ceaseless working, and it may be seen in Raphinha’s numbers.

Among forwards since his arrival in the Premier League, solely Joelinton – a participant who spent a substantial portion of final season enjoying in midfield – has made extra tackles than Raphinha whereas none have made extra ball recoveries or interceptions.

The most current of these interceptions, when he reduce out a David Raya cross earlier than skipping previous the Brentford goalkeeper to win Leeds their penalty on ultimate day of the season, arrange the most vital aim of his two-year spell at the membership.

That passage of play additionally exemplified the sheer bodily depth of Raphinha in full stream. Indeed, between his first Leeds look and his final, Premier League monitoring knowledge reveals he revamped 200 extra high-intensity sprints than anybody else in the division.

It is simply one more reason why, lower than two years on from his arrival in the Premier League, some of the greatest golf equipment in Europe are queuing as much as safe his signature. Soon, it appears his penchant for the spectacular can have a brand new set of supporters off their seats.

Raphinha heading to Chelsea – Leeds deliberate for exit

Sky Sports News reporter Tim Thornton:

“Discussions are ongoing with Chelsea, it’s a deal that’s edging closer. But it’s not done yet. We know that Arsenal are interested in him and they had a bid rejected. Barcelona are keen, Tottenham as well.

“Chelsea’s curiosity is a long-standing one and the deal is edging nearer. Leeds are but to obtain a written supply so it is about going by means of the technicalities of the deal now and the formalities. It appears to be like like the participant is heading in the direction of Stamford Bridge.

“It would represent good business for Leeds. It’s not too long since he joined Leeds for £16m but what a servant he has been for them. Seventeen goals in the Premier League over two seasons. It’s a move that suits him and Leeds were aware that this could happen this summer. They planned for this.”

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