Liverpool are tracking the progress of Leeds United winger Raphinha ahead of a potential summer move, according to reports. The 24-year-old has taken to life in the Premier League like a duck to water under Marcelo Bielsa’s guidance, helping to keep the Yorkshire club away from the division’s bottom three by averaging a goal contribution every other game.
Raphinha has played a huge role in attack for the free-flowing Whites throughout the campaign, earning high praise from Bielsa who previously hailed his willingness to help out in defence as well as his ability to threaten with the ball at feet.
“He’s a player with a capacity to unbalance a team individually, every one of his physical qualities are good,” Bielsa told Leeds Live in November.
“He’s a dynamic player, who’s not difficult for him to go forward and come back or to get in behind and defend. The characteristics of the team coincide with his way of playing.”
Raphinha’s form has attracted the interest of Liverpool who are eyeing additional options in attack for next season, according to Football Insider.
The report claims that scouts at the Merseyside club have been ‘blown away’ by the Spaniard’s development since arriving at Leeds from French side Rennes during pre-season.
However, the Reds are unlikely to be the only side in the hunt for Raphinha given the winger’s proven ability and high ceiling for potential growth.
It is possible that he could replace Mohamed Salah at Liverpool if the Egyptian star seals a summer switch to either Real Madrid or Barcelona.
Speculation over the 28-year-old’s future an Anfield grew in December after he admitted that he sees the El Clasico pair as ‘top clubs’ and refused to rule out a move away from Liverpool before the end of his career.
“I think Madrid and Barcelona are two top clubs,” Salah told AS in a revealing interview. “Who knows what is going to happen in the future? But right now I am focused on winning the Premier League and the Champions League with Liverpool again.”
When pressed to provide a more conclusive answer, he added: “That’s a tough question, but right now I can say that everything is in the hands of the club.
“Of course I want to break records here and, I repeat, all the club records, but everything is in the hands of the club.”
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has since played down rumours linking Salah with a move to Spain, claiming that the winger has little reason to leave the club given their recent success both domestically and in Europe.
“We could all look for something else if we want, but I think the only reason to leave Liverpool at the moment is the weather,” Klopp told reports on Boxing Day.
“What other reason could be there? This is one of the biggest clubs in the world, we pay good money – maybe not the most in the world, but we pay good – and we have a sensational stadium with outstanding supporters.
“You cannot force people to stay but that is it. We never did by the way. It is all about timing, the right moment, stuff like this. We make changes and bring players in and if a player wants to go we cannot hold them back, it is just I wouldn’t understand why they would want to go.
“When Mo answered the question it was that these clubs might be interested and he didn’t rule out that. The only thing he said was ‘we shall see’ and about Liverpool it is in the club’s hands.
“It is true 100 per cent and it is about having talks about the future. It is really all fine. Mo is a very important player for me, obviously, but this story around is not.”
It remains to be seen whether Liverpool will move for Raphinha regardless of Salah’s future at the club.
The winger could join even if the Egyptian stays and play a similar role to that of Diogo Jota, who has successfully coexisted with the club’s established attacking stars since leaving Wolves in the summer.