Leeds United

Leeds United

Premier League • England

Raphinha transfer claims dismissed by Jesse Marsch as Leeds boss makes wing-back admission

Raphinha, Leeds Utd winger, during Premier League game at Arsenal

Leeds manager Jesse Marsch insists Raphinha transfer talk is not distracting the player and is adamant he can channel his anger and desire in a positive manner in their remaining games.

The Brazilian winger remains very much a man in demand despite some disappointing performances for Leeds of late. Raphinha boasts 10 goals and three assists to his name this season, though the bulk of those have come in the first half of the season.

Indeed, he has just two goal contributions (one goal, one assist) in his last 10 appearances for United.

Nonetheless, that has not stopped transfer rumours circling around the player. Several sides are reportedly keen on poaching the Brazilian away from Elland Road this summer, though it appears Barcelona are leading the charge.

To that end, reports over the weekend suggested that Raphinha has completely made up his mind on his next destination.

Wherever he ends up, it seems like Leeds fans are readying themselves for the winger’s departure.

Regardless of whether they stay in the Premier League or not, Raphinha does not look like he will be around next season.

Commitment questioned amid Raphinha transfer claims

Amid some less-than-effective performances of late, some have questioned his commitment to Leeds amid Raphinha transfer claims. Furthermore, the player has twice in recent games seemingly channeled that anger in the wrong way.

Firstly, he barracked a section of supporters for throwing paper on the field as he was about to take a corner against Manchester City.

Then in Sunday’s loss at Arsenal, he almost lost his head following Luke Ayling’s dismissal. On the subject of Ayling’s red card, Marsch has offered a staunch defence of the full-back.

Despite Raphinha’s behaviour, Marsch is adamant he likes the winger’s passion and believes his star man remains focused.

Asked if the player’s head is elsewhere, Marsch commented: “Not at all. He is 100 per cent invested. His emotion, which has been talked about, can be interpreted as lack of discipline. I see it as total investment. That part has been no thought for me.”

Brazilian not suited to wing-back role

With Marsch struggling to get the best out of Raphinha, the Leeds United boss has used him in an unorthodox wing-back role in periods of recent matches.

The role has certainly not suited him, though, and Marsch now concedes that it’s done the player little favours.

“I like his passion and his mentality and his desire to win and be a great player. He’s a fantastic talent. But I have not got enough out of him.

“I have to get him wider, more transition moments, around the goal more. The best opponents not going to be in the final third a lot to get him on the ball. Get him around the goal.”

Barcelona price for Raphinha if Leeds get relegated

Barcelona want to sign Raphinha from Leeds United but don’t want to pay half of wanted fee if Leeds get relegated

On playing him at wing-back, Marsch added: “Wing-back does not get him in those spaces either. How to get him the ball more, in spaces and on the move.”

If Leeds are to escape the drop this season, Raphinha needs to rediscover his best form in the remaining games.

In a desire to keep things tight, Raphinha has found the creative side to his game stifled a little. And while the pragmatism is understandable, Raphinha is one of those players who simply needs to be allowed to play his game.

He’s proven himself a hard worker, who will track back his opponents when needed. But he needs to hog that touchline and be given licence to do what he does best.