An elite Leeds star who has taken the Premier League in his stride has been tipped to become a future Liverpool player after a five-year scouting mission, per a report.
Leeds and Liverpool do battle on Sunday in what is likely to be an all-action affair. Thankfully for both sides, their Brazilian stars will be eligible to play after the country’s FA backed down from their demand to see a five-day ban imposed.
That will see the likes of Alisson Becker and Fabinho feature for the Reds, and Raphinha will surely start for the Whites.
Raphinha quickly laid to rest any doubts Leeds fans may have had over his £17m move last year. The winger, 24, excelled under the bright lights of the Premier League and quickly became their talisman going forward.
Predcitably, teams from higher up the table were credited with interest, with Sunday’s opponents Liverpool frequently linked with a swoop. And today’s Mirror goes as far as to state Raphinha will be Liverpool’s ‘next signing’.
That declaration stems from the Independent revealing Liverpool have scouted the forward for an astonishing five years. Jurgen Klopp’s side reportedly ‘first noticed him at the Copa Sao Paulo junior football tournament.’
Klopp recently suggested the club will not spend their way out of trouble despite a looming issue. The impending absences of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah to the 2021 AFCON have sparked speculation a January move will be made.
And according to Leeds Live’s Conor McGilligan, Liverpool will likely be “sniffing around Raphinha” again very soon.
“He’s some player – probably the best winger I’ve seen at Leeds since Harry Kewell,” McGilligan told the Behind Enemy Lines podcast.
“We were all worried going into this window about his future because 80-85 per cent of our attacking output comes through him.
“He’s the innovator, he’s the creator. He’s the one player opposition teams double or triple up on him. He has the X-factor.
“He really is world class. I think people throw around the term ‘world class’ frequently but I genuinely think Raphinha could play in any team in the world – he’s that good.
“I don’t know how long we’re going to keep hold of him but the fact that we’ve kept hold of him this summer is pretty incredible for Leeds. It’s a massive statement of intent.
“He’s going to be a top, top player but I can imagine Liverpool will be sniffing around him again.”
Liverpool hope to succeed where Chelsea failed
Meanwhile, Chelsea were interested in signing a top Liverpool target three years ago but failed to get a deal over the line, according to a report.
The west London side attempted to land Red Bull Salzburg wonderkid Karim Adeyemi in 2018. The centre-forward was playing for German side SpVgg Unterhaching at the time, and earned a switch to Salzburg later that year.
Unterhaching chairman Manfred Schwabl said (via Express): “In 2018 we received an inquiry from a scout from Chelsea. He had a contract with us at the time.
“My contact with Karim’s family was very close. I then said that it would be a great story if we could look at it together on site. Then his dad, my daughter, Karim and I flew over and we went to see it at Chelsea.
“But for us and the parents it was always clear that this step to the island [England] at the age of 16 is still too big. Chelsea wanted him to join the academy, but we said we wanted Karim under our own wing.”
Adeyemi has since announced himself on the world stage and captured the attention of Liverpool. He scored on his international debut for Germany during a recent 6-0 win against Armenia. Jurgen Klopp’s side are thought to be preparing a big-money offer ahead of next summer.