Leeds winger Raphinha hinted where his future lays amid transfer links to Liverpool and Man Utd before admitting he is in daily contact with Red Devils talisman Bruno Fernandes.
The Brazilian enjoyed a stellar debut season in the Premier League. Racking up six league goals and nine assists, the 24-year-old provided telling contributions on a regular basis to back up his all-round threat. However, his standout season did not go unnoticed, with several of the league’s big hitters regularly credited with interest in prising him away from Elland Road.
A third suitor was reported to have joined Liverpool and Man Utd in the race in late April. That should come as no surprise given how highly the dangerous forward is rated by both pundits and teammates alike.
Interest from abroad has also emerged, with German powerhouse Borussia Dortmund considering the Leeds ace as a readymade replacement if Jadon Sancho departs.
Now, personally addressing rumours over his future, Raphinha admitted it was “difficult” to put into words what Man Utd and Liverpool’s interest meant having grown up watching several of their former superstars.
“It is difficult to define how I feel when I hear speculation about giant teams like Liverpool and Manchester United being interested in signing me,” he told UOL Sport in Brazil (via the Manchester Evening News)
“I grew up watching these teams on television. I saw Rooney, Van Nistelrooy, Cristiano Ronaldo but I also saw Gerrard, as well as others like Henry, Deco, Lampard.
“Leeds was the one who bet on me. They are very happy, including the fans who seem to have a great affection for me.
“I have a contract for another four years and I don’t even think about leaving here for exactly this reason: I’m happy and I’m making others happy.”
Raphinha reveals Bruno Fernandes bond
Raphinha spent a year at Sporting Lisbon during the 2018-19 season, playing alongside Fernandes in the process.
Opening up on their close ties that still remain, Raphinha said: “It’s funny that I have friends in both clubs. Bruno Fernandes played with me for a year that seemed like many more at Sporting. He became almost an older brother.
“We talk every day, not about football, just our antics. Even from a distance, it helps me a lot. At United there’s Alex Telles. I do not know how many times I’ve played against him, but always with respect. There’s Fred, who’s from the south too.
“In Liverpool there is Alisson, who is from the south too, and Fabinho, who is from the same place as Firmino and I. In fact, did you know that Firmino was the first guy who texted me when I came here? He’s a great friend.”