Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch has been told that the summer sale of star man Raphinha will not damage the club as much as some suggest with the perfect replacement already on the club’s books.
The Brazilian superstar has found himself a regular in the transfer gossip columns. Having scored 10 goals for Leeds this season, he has, at times, almost single-handedly kept their survival hopes ticking over. Indeed, starring on the international stage for Brazil has only raised his profile further.
Indeed, it’s little wonder to see Raphinha linked with a number of big-name clubs. Bayern Munich came sniffing just before the January window, while Premier League interest from the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea has bubbled along.
However, the biggest interest has perhaps come in the last six weeks from Barcelona. Their manager, Xavi, is seemingly a huge admirer of the star and has made his signing one of his major priorities this summer. Indeed, reports have gone as far to say that Raphinha has already agreed terms on a move to the Nou Camp.
Few Leeds fans would deny a player of Raphinha’s standing deserves to play in the Champions League. In fact, he is one such star who would surely grace the game at that level.
And begrudging him a move to Barcelona would not be on the agenda either – but only if the price were right. To that end, talk that Barcelona are hoping to snare him for just £30m have, quite rightly, been met with scorn.
Furthermore, TEAMtalk understands that Leeds value the winger at double that – with £60m their minimum valuation.
Whether Raphinha departs or not is an issue likely to dominate the headlines this summer.
Perfect Raphinha replacement already at Leeds
And, should he end up leaving Elland Road, focus will then turn to how Leeds replace their talismanic star.
However, despite the likes of Ryan Kent and Noa Lang being touted as big-money replacements, Leeds have been told the perfect replacement is right under their noses.
Indeed, according to former Leeds striker and current foundation coach Noel Whelan, Crysencio Summerville, is ready to fill Raphinha’s boots.
The Dutch star has been on Leeds’ books since a 2020 move from Feyenoord.
Still only 20, Summerville has made eight appearances in all competitions this season.
Leeds United value Raphinha at £70m putting many teams off
Leeds United value Raphinha at £70m which will put off Barcelona, Bayern Munich and PSG
And while he is yet to claim a senior goal or assist, the Netherlands Under-21 winger has caught the eye for Leeds U23s.
And, having recently netted a stunning hat-trick at that level, Whelan claims Summerville is “very much like” Raphinha.
Speaking to Football Insider, Whelan says it’s a shame Leeds haven’t seen more of Summerville in action.
“It’s just a shame we’ve got so many top-class wingers at the minute,” Whelan said.
“You look at Raphinha, you look at [Jack] Harrison who are getting the goals. Dan James can come in there as well. Summerville’s doing everything that is required of him as a player to give the manager food for thought.
Summerville doing all he can
“He can’t be doing any more than what he’s doing. Great attitude, performance levels, scoring goals, getting assists. He is definitely one player that excites everybody and gets you on the edge of your seat.
“He’s very much like Raphinha and Harrison when he’s at his best. We are blessed with you some really fantastic wingers. He’s learning his trade with some other fantastic wingers there as well.
“I’m sure he’s getting many tips watching the likes of Dan James in training, Raphinha, Harrison. He’s putting all his skills into one basket as well. Look, he’s going to be a fantastic one for the future.
“He’s putting pressure on the wingers already. That is all you can ask of him. That is probably why Jesse Marsch is so impressed by his performances and character.”
Summerville’s talents have not gone unnoticed either; he was linked with a move to Hamburg in January, while Rangers are reportedly sniffing ahead of the summer window.