Liverpool have a ‘trick up their sleeve’ in their pursuit of Leeds United winger Raphinha, according to journalist Dean Jones.
The 25-year-old is expected to depart Elland Road this summer following two impressive campaigns on English shores and could make the switch to the FA Cup holders.
What is the latest news involving Raphinha?
According to The Mirror, Liverpool are ‘ramping up’ their interest in Raphinha as Sadio Mane edges ever closer to the Anfield exit door.
Manager Jurgen Klopp is said to be ‘a big fan’ of the Brazil international, and back-up attacker Takumi Minamino could be used as a makeweight in any potential deal.
Raphinha was heavily tipped to join Barcelona, with transfer expert Fabrizio Romano revealing his agent had held talks with the club’s hierarchy.
However, the Catalan giants are in a dire financial situation and must sell before they can afford the South American’s hefty £60 million price tag.
That means Liverpool could be in a good position to capitalise, securing Raphinha’s signature from under Barca’s nose, replacing the outbound Mane in their forward line.
What has Jones said about Raphinha?
Jones believes the possibility of Minamino moving in the opposite direction is ‘one thing to consider’ and revealed he wouldn’t be surprised if a proposition like that is put to Leeds.
Ousmane Dembele WILL WIN BALLON D’OR at Chelsea! Hear more on The Football Terrace…
He told GiveMeSport: “That is one thing to consider. If they are serious about Raphinha, then they’ve got that little trick up their sleeve that they can suddenly offer a player that would really help Leeds out.
“And it will help them fulfil the player’s ambition to make that switch that he’s looking for. So, it wouldn’t surprise me if something like that ends up being put to them.”
Would Raphinha be a good Mane replacement?
Since arriving in west Yorkshire in October 2020, Raphinha has established himself as one of the most exciting attacking players in the Premier League, racking up 17 goals and 12 assists in 67 appearances.
The immensely talented star was the standout performer in a side that only escaped relegation on the final day of season notching 14 goal contributions in his 35 top-flight outings, and his underlying numbers were just as eye-catching.
As per WhoScored, Raphinha averaged 2.5 shots, 1.9 key passes, 1.8 dribbles and 0.9 crosses per league game throughout 2021/22, placing him above his teammates in every metric.
It is logical to assume that Raphinha’s output would increase further if he moved to a side battling at the opposite end of the table, and his hard-working nature could make him an ideal successor to Mane at Liverpool.