Leeds make Raphinha request amid double fear star could miss Southampton clash

Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa speaks with Raphinha on the touchline during the Premier League match against Watford at Elland Road

Leeds United are one of several Premier League sides reported to have made a request to the Brazilian FA to release called-up international stars early from the latest international break.

That comes after Leeds winger Raphinha finally joined up with la Selecao, having been denied that chance last month. United’s No 10 is one of eight Premier League stars called up for the latest round of internationals.

Alisson, Ederson, Emerson, Thiago Silva, Fabinho, Fred and Gabriel Jesus are the other stars given the nod.

However, as per the Daily Mail, the six clubs affected have collectively made a request to the Brazilian FA for the stars to withdraw early from international duty.

Indeed, there are two issues at hand here, amid concerns the players could all miss their club’s next Premier League match.

Firstly, there remains uncertainty over which players would be excempt from quarantine rules upon their returns. And secondly, the timing of Brazil’s final match of the break means any participation on Saturday looks extremely doubtful.

Indeed, the Samba stars have three matches over the international break. They play Venezuela on October 8, before a match with Colombia on October 10.

However, their final game – against Uruguay at Amazonia Arena – is due to be played on October 15. That game, which kicks off in the early hours of BST, means Raphinha’s chances of making the October 16 game at Southampton look slim at best.

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The Mail now reports that Leeds, among their five Premier League counterparts, have made a special request to the Brazilian FA. They have asked if they would allow the players to miss the final match of the qualifiers to travel home.

The Brazilian FA were at loggerheads with Premier League clubs last month over their participation in September’s internationals.

With Brazil on the UK Government’s list of red-list countries, several players opted not to travel. That saw the Brazilian FA try to invoke a five-day FIFA ban for ‘non-participation’ of players.

Ultimately, however, they dropped the charges, allowing the players to feature.

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Raphinha vital for Leeds

This time around again the ball is very much in Brazil’s court. Indeed, they could, quite legally, enforce their players to face Uruguay.

The absence of Raphinha – a man recently called the ‘jewel of the Premier League’–  at St Mary’s would represent a major blow for Leeds.

The Brazilian is their most creative outlet and is one of the first names on Marcelo Bielsa’s team sheet.

He is also their top scorer so far this season with three goals to his name.

Thankfully, however, Leeds do have cover for this sort of scenario following the signing of Daniel James.

The Wales winger has made a bright start to his Leeds career and impressed during Saturday’s win over Watford.

Subject to fitness, he will retain his place against the Saints, while a recall looks highly likely for Jack Harrison.

The £11m summer signing has found himself on the bench in recent weeks, having fallen down the pecking order following James’ arrival.

Young Dutchman Crysencio Summerville – who recently debuted at Newcastle – is another option.

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