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Premier League • England

Raphinha agent stokes Leeds United fears with new Liverpool confirmation

Leeds forward Raphinha

The agent of Leeds United winger Raphinha has confirmed Liverpool are an admirer of his client, and talked up a transfer away multiple times.

Since arriving from Rennes in 2020, Raphinha has been a revelation at Elland Road. The Brazilian winger is more than a handful going forward, but never shirks his defensive responsibilities in Marcelo Bielsa’s demanding system.

An all-action winger is also something Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool are partial to. So it came as no surprise over the summer to see links emerge between Raphinha and the Anfield club.

Ultimately, the tricky forward stayed put in West Yorkshire. However, speaking to Brazilian outlet Globo (via the Yorkshire Evening Post), Raphinha’s agent, Deco, has repeatedly hinted he sees bigger clubs in his client’s future.

“Raphinha has become an important player in the Premier League, the club knows he has grown and things will happen naturally,” the Portuguese legend said.

“He’s young, he has many challenges ahead. There are certainly several clubs that like him, and Liverpool do like him. There were surveys, but nothing official. Leeds wanted to keep him for another season.

“Raphinha is happy at Leeds and for sure the time will come to take the biggest leap in his career, to take a step forward.

“He has a three-year contract, but it is not the contract that defines the length of stay or prevents transfers.

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“Leeds is aware, they will want to make an important sale, and Raphinha will end up growing in his career.”

While Deco stopped short of defining a timeline on Raphinha’s future, he did acknowledge the Brazilian has “ambitions to play at a higher level” that what Leeds can currently provide.

Deco added: “Raphinha will play at the highest level for many years. I don’t know if in Premier forever, but it will definitely be in the options.

“Raphinha has a market, and Leeds has high expectations, it was never a project in a hurry. He has ambitions to play at a higher level despite Leeds being in the Premier League. But this is not the time – things will happen naturally.”

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Bielsa admits uncertainty over Raphinha

Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa speaks with Raphinha on the touchline during the Premier League match against Watford at Elland Road

Meanwhile, Bielsa insists no decision has been made on Raphinha’s availability to face Southampton on Saturday after explaining the difficult waiting game Leeds United face over their star winger.

It’s been a difficult start to the season for the Whites. They head to St Mary’s on Saturday with just one win to their name. And they’ll face a Southampton side sweating over star man Raphinha, who looks set to play for Brazil on Friday morning.

Speaking at his press conference on Thursday afternoon, Bielsa revealed a decision on Raphinha’s availability was still to be made.

“There’s no doubt there’s a short turnaround. The options that he has to participate on Saturday depends on whether he plays for Brazil tonight. How many minutes he plays, how he finishes the game after he participates in it,” Bielsa said.

“How efficient a rest he has in the next 36 hours. Considering that a third of those hours he will taking it flying and if there’s any risk that that fatigue can cause injuries, we won’t risk him”

“There’s plenty of risks to consider so we can’t promise anything.”

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