Sources: Manchester City join Liverpool and Man United in race to sign £22.5m star

Tuttomercato journalist Gianluigi Longari reports that Manchester City have joined the race to sign Leeds United’s Raphinha, with Liverpool and United also keen.

Goal reported in February: “Liverpool are monitoring Raphinha’s progress, though reports of concrete interest or any bids being prepared are wide of the mark.”

In his first Premier League season, Raphinha has six goals and six assists but more impressive than his goal contributions have been his build-up play and unbelievable work ethic.

Predictably, Marco Bielsa’s forwards can’t simply be attackers as they are key to the way that his side defends from the front.

LEEDS, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 08: Raphinha of Leeds United looks on during the Premier League match between Leeds United and Crystal Palace at Elland Road on February 08, 2021 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Jon Super – Pool/Getty Images)

That said, you don’t get linked with Liverpool and Manchester City if you’re simply hard-working – especially as a right-winger. The Brazilian’s dribbling and tight control make him hugely attractive to the top sides in England due to their ball retention demands.

It makes sense for him to be linked with a move to the Etihad as he is actually similar in style to Riyad Mahrez in many ways. Both forwards are left-footed and able to drive at fullbacks, with defenders terrified of diving in and conceding fouls.

From Liverpool’s perspective, they don’t actually have a player like Raphinha in their ranks with Sadio Mane the only player in their squad that excels at running at defenders.

Mo Salah is a lot of things but his dribbling isn’t the prettiest, with his style of play more reliant on getting into great positions and finding the quickest way to get a shot off.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – APRIL 24: Mohamed Salah of Liverpool celebrates after scoring their side’s first goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Newcastle United at Anfield on April 24, 2021 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by David Klein – Pool/Getty Images)

Liverpool are more in need of a centre-forward so it’s difficult to say where Raphinha fits in at Anfield given that Salah has that right-wing position under lock and key.

He’s hit the 20-goal mark in the Premier League once again and has 33 goal contributions in all comps this season.

Left-wing and striker aren’t as safe, with Mane and Firmino both guilty of performing below their usually sky-high standards.

Between them, they’ve scored six goals fewer in the Premier League when compared with Salah. After years of delivering the goods, it’s only natural that their levels will dip but if Klopp isn’t certain they’ll bounce back next season, he needs to take action in the transfer window.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 28: Sadio Mane of Liverpool celebrates with teammate Roberto Firminho after scoring his team’s third goal during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on January 28, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Raphinha would be a sensational signing and while Jota has been great for Liverpool as well, a striker needs to be signed to compete with Firmino.

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Michael Mongie
Football Central Media Group founder, owner and editor.

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