Liverpool preparing offer for Raphina
According to a report by Futbol de Ingelaterra (h/t Liverpool Echo), Liverpool are preparing an offer for Leeds United winger, Raphinha. The Brazilian winger has impressed this season at Leeds United and has now apparently caught the Reds’ eyes.
He joined Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds at the start of this season in the summer. Formerly at Rennes in France, Raphinha went on to have a great season at Elland Road. And Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have been so impressed that they are now reportedly preparing a £32million offer.
A much-needed backup
Backup would be a strong term to use for Raphinha in all fairness. Like all top players, he would want to join a club where he competes for starts. And there is no denying that he would have that at Liverpool too. But Mohamed Salah, who has been the club’s top league goalscorer every year since joining Liverpool, is undisputed at right-wing.
That is, of course, a position where Raphinha plays too. But considering the importance of Salah, the Reds don’t have a reputed right-winger as his backup. Xherdan Shaqiri can play in that position but just 5 of his 16 appearances last season have been on the right flank. In such a situation, the Brazilian winger will go a long way in providing apt support for Salah when the Egyptian needs rest, and can even compete for starts.
Raphinha is no slouch
Liverpool won’t be signing an unknown talent that hasn’t had a taste of the English top-flight. In Raphinha, they would get a talented right-winger who has played in Ligue 1 as well as the Premier League.
He raked in 11 top-flight assists this campaign, which is two more than any Liverpool player managed in that time. And he has also been praised highly by a manager of Bielsa’s class. This is what the Argentine said about Raphinha earlier this season (h/t Independent.ie)
“I sincerely think that I can add very little to his game. The best thing you can do with players who are so spontaneous is to let them be themselves. He’s a player who unbalances (the opposition) by himself, he’s very ambitious, very competitive.”
Versatility, fee, and future
While preferring to play on the right, Raphinha can play on both wings, as he has for Leeds this season. This means that Diogo Jota can be used as a backup for Roberto Firmino at centre-forward, a position where Liverpool lack depth.
Moreover, when the 2021 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) takes place in 2022, Liverpool would need someone to fill in for Mane and Salah, and Raphinha is capable of that.
Liverpool are ready to bid £32million for the Brazilian and it’s not an exorbitant fee a team would have to pay for a young top-flight winger. Moreover, at his age, he can be the successor to Mane or Salah when one or both of them decide to move on from Anfield, however far away that time might be.
Thus, if the Reds do decide to get Raphinha, they would be making a wise signing. Top teams have strength in depth, which enables them to compete for trophies on multiple fronts.
Klopp is yet to win any domestic knockout cup at Liverpool but signing players that add depth to his squad could propel his side into the deeper ends of the FA Cup or the Carabao Cup next term apart from challenging for the Premier League and the UCL.