In February, Goal reported that Raphinha’s good form was attracting interest from Liverpool and with Sadio Mane underperforming, the Brazilian could be a good option in the summer market.
In his first Premier League season, Raphinha has six goals and six assists but more impressive than his goal contributions has been his build-up play and unbelievable work ethic.
Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United outfit depends on the willingness of his players to work their socks off all game and the right-winger is certainly willing to get up and down that flank, with his ability on the ball not affected by the demands of the system.
The 24-year-old came to the Premier League with a reputation for having a wand of a left foot. His exploits in Portugal with Sporting CP and in France with Stade Rennais were well known but very few expected him to adapt so quickly in England.
What has helped him so much is his willingness to put the hard work in. The likes of Bernard at Everton never really succeeded in the Premier League due to a poor work ethic and not a lack of skill.
At Liverpool, Raphina would need to accept a squad role as Mohamed Salah isn’t going to be ejected from the starting XI but the Brazilian could be what Sadio Mane needs to kickstart his form next season.
By his own high standards, the Senegal forward has been very poor this season. After he grabbed 22 goals and 12 assists on the way to a Premier League title last term, Mane has just 12 goals and 7 assists this season.
Raphinha might be a right-winger by trade but if Mane knew that someone with his talent was on the bench fighting for a chance to take his place, I have no doubt that the former RB Salzburg star would kick into a higher gear.
After contracting COVID-19 in October, there’s also a chance that Mane is suffering from the long-term effects of the virus that sap your energy and leave you breathless which is far from ideal for a Premier League winger.
If Liverpool have any plans to build on their interest in Raphina as reported by Goal in February, Fabinho’s representatives could play an interesting role.
Deco, one of the midfielder’s agents also represents Raphinha which would certainly help with negotiations between the two parties.
It would also help for the Leeds attacker to hear from Fabinho on how he, Roberto Firmino and Alisson Becker find life in Liverpool to be comfortable for three Brazilians.