‘Headache’ at Rennes as players hit out at sale of star to Prem side

Date published: Monday 14th December 2020 11:51 - Neil Foster

The decision this summer to sell winger Raphinha to Leeds United has baffled the Rennes’ squad, according to reports in the French media.

Leeds paid a reported £17m to sign the Brazilian in October after their return to the Premier League. The 23-year-old had been with Rennes for just one season, scoring seven goals from 30 outings in all competitions.

He looked set for another campaign at Roazhon Park, with the Ligue 1 outfit qualifying for the Champions League. However, a snap decision was made to let him move to Elland Road, which caused confusion.

The French press suggested at the time that the South American had pushed for a move to West Yorkshire. But, last week Raphinha made it clear that was not the case, giving his side of the story.

It seems as though the club tried to lay the blame at the player’s door – and the opposite is true.

“I arrived here on a Monday, and had found out about the proposal on Saturday,” he told the Brazilian media. “I was focused on playing in the Champions League at Rennes. But, knowing that, out of the blue, they accepted an offer from Leeds, for an amount even less than the purchase, made me feel devalued.

“I played on Sunday and, after the match, they put the whole responsibility on me, on leaving.”

It appears as though the Raphinha situation is just one issue at Rennes, according to L’Equipe. The sporting daily carried an article on Sunday, which read ‘Rennes – Migraine’.

Part of the headache surrounds how the squad ‘struggled to understand’ why he was sold to Leeds. The former Sporting Lisbon star’s words will further muddy the waters at a club struggling on the pitch.

They finished third last term but are down in eighth at the moment – missing the creative spark of their former winger.

Pundit fears for midfielder

While Raphinha was a shock signing, Kalvin Phillips may be heading out of the club – according to Paul Merson. The former England and Arsenal star – now a Sky Sports regular- believes he may struggle under Bielsa.

Phillips is primarily a defensive midfielder but the Argentinian coach sets up his side with attack in mind. It may be easy on the eye for the neutral but is unlikely to reap too many rewards in the long term.

Promoted teams tend to either ‘park the bus’ in the top flight or go gung ho. The latter is the Peacocks’ preferred choice and Merson questions whether Phillips will buy into it.

Kalvin Phillips TEAMtalk

“Every neutral loves watching Leeds play because you know it’s going be an open game, it’s going to be free-flowing, there’s going to be goals – but that’s no good to Leeds,” he said.

“I look at Phillips, and I was talking upstairs earlier with the lads: you look at Phillips and wonder how long is he going to stay at Leeds for?”

READ MORE: Weak link worries Whelan

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