Senior Man Utd star drops Raphinha hint with Leeds’ worst nightmare coming true
Man Utd attacker Bruno Fernandes has talked up a reunion with former Leeds Utd winger Raphinha amid mounting speculation over a return to the Premier League.
Raphinha, 26, got the move of his dreams last summer when signing on the dotted line for Barcelona. Arsenal and Chelsea both tabled bids, with the Blues even seeing theirs accepted by Leeds. However, the South American only had eyes for Barcelona and a move to the Camp Nou quickly crossed the line.
Since arriving, Raphinha has struggled with the step-up in class as well as with the different requirements playing for a team who are heavily favoured in most games presents.
Indeed, Spanish outlet Sport claimed Barca’s coaching staff are demanding more from Raphinha in one-v-one situations. Whether it’s a lack of confidence or a lack of ability, Raphinha has faltered in that department so far.
Teams who dominate the ball like Barcelona often have to find a breakthrough via one of two methods. The first is meticulously picking their way through a deep-lying defence with precision passing. The second is through individual brilliance with explosive attackers able to beat their markers one-on-one.
Raphinha’s struggles with the latter has prompted Ousmane Dembele to take his place in the starting eleven. Furthermore, the continued rise of Ansu Fati could heighten the Raphinha issue if he begins to block the Spaniard’s progress.
Barcelona have chopped and changed their forward line en masse of late. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang lasted just six months before returning to England, and Sport report a decision on whether to axe Raphinha after just one year will be made at season’s end.
If Raphinha is ousted, they claimed the market back in England is ‘huge’. In other words, there’ll be no shortage of suitors willing to take a punt on a player who thrived in the Premier League.
Arsenal and Chelsea were tentatively linked by the Sun and Mirror. However, those links are likely only due to the London pair both bidding for Raphinha last summer.
Now, speaking to the Athletic, Bruno Fernandes has talked up the former Leeds talisman, thus throwing up the chance of a move to Old Trafford.
Fernandes wants Raphinha reunion at Man Utd?
Fernandes previously crossed paths with Raphinha during their time at Sporting Lisbon between 2018-19. When interviewed by the Athletic on the subject of leadership, Fernandes spoke very highly of the Barca winger.
“So many,” said Fernandes when asked about leaders he’s played with. “Raphinha, who is now at Barcelona, would be one.
“The chemistry between me and him was really good. I didn’t play with him for a long time at Sporting, but I felt he was a team-mate who would give everything for me.”
There’s no indication Man Utd are preparing a move for Raphinha. However, they are known to be in the market for new forwards and left-footers are required.
Would Raphinha to Old Trafford make sense?
The only left-footed attacker Erik ten Hag can call upon at present is Antony. January target Cody Gakpo is right-footed and the MEN’s Samuel Luckhurst recently stressed a left-footed arrival would be far more ideal for Ten Hag.
What’s more, Gakpo is being viewed as the replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo, though two wingers could depart in 2023.
Jadon Sancho’s future is up in the air amid ongoing links to Chelsea. Back-up option Facundo Pellistri is expected to depart in January.
Raphinha would represent a fantastic and Premier-League proven addition for any top English side. While there’s nothing concrete as yet, Fernandes certainly sounds like he’d love to see the Brazilian lining up alongside him at Old Trafford.
A Raphinha return to England – and to Manchester United, no less – would be a Leeds fan’s worst nightmare.
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