Chelsea hold a ‘strong interest’ in Leeds United and Brazil winger Raphinha ahead of the end of the season, according to reports from Italy.
While the January transfer window opens in a matter of days, it seems as if the Blues are working on deals for the end of the season – with that period usually the busier of the two when it comes to expenditure.
According to Sport Italia reporter Gianluigi Longari, Chelsea, as well as many ‘other top clubs’ have a ‘strong interest’ in Raphinha from Leeds and could look to pursue his signing when the season concludes.
The 25-year-old signed for the Whites at the start of the 2020/21 season and has been a revelation ever since making the £16.75million move from Rennes.
The Brazil international has already bagged himself eight goals in the Premier League this term, despite a poor start to the campaign for Leeds, who are now set to fight relegation.
Manchester United are one of the numerous clubs who are also credited with an interest in Raphinha and it appears Bruno Fernandes would very much like to see his former team-mate play at Old Trafford one day.
Fernandes played with Raphinha during their days in Portugal for Sporting Lisbon, with the pair setting each other up eight times while playing together.
It is clear from those stats that those two had a great understanding when playing for Sporting. Fernandes admitted earlier this year that he misses his former team-mate.
He said, via The Sun: “I miss Raphinha. He is a player with whom I had a different chemistry from the others, he understood me at a glance.”
What’s Raphinha said?
Raphinha himself has been very clear when giving his verdict on his future. The Leeds star insisted that he can achieve his personal goals and ambitions at Elland Road, despite reported interest from elsewhere.
When asked by BBC Radio Leeds whether it is possible to reach his personal goals in Yorkshire, the Brazilian said: “Without a doubt.
“When you bring together players with a real, strong, winning desire together with the manager, the coaching staff, fans who love the club, you create a wonderful atmosphere in the stadium and at the training ground.
“Marcelo Bielsa demands a lot of us. We know that. We’re used to it. We listen to him. He helps us develop and evolve as players, as professionals.
“We listen to him and we play his style of football. That’s the football that has put us, that has given us attention in the Premier League, made us stand out in the Premier League and made Leeds a Premier League team.”
Where would Raphinha fit in at Chelsea?
Raphinha predominantly plays on the right-hand side for Leeds – something he could easily do should Chelsea secure his services in the summer.
In the Blues’ 3-1 win over Aston Villa on Sunday evening, Mason Mount occupied the position on the right wing. Callum Hudson-Odoi, Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech can also play in that role, but there is no go-to man for Thomas Tuchel on the right-hand side.
The fact that Raphinha is left-footed makes him an even more attractive option for Chelsea. Of course, Ziyech is left-footed, but the way the Moroccan plays is completely different to Raphinha.
The way Raphinha cuts in on his left foot is similar to what we’ve seen Mohamed Salah and Arjen Robben do with such success over the years. If the Brazilian can offer Chelsea anything near what those two have managed, then it would be a tremendous signing from the west London club.