Leeds United capped off deadline day with an exciting signing as Victor Orta spent £17m to bring some Brazilian flair to Elland Road.
The Whites have signed Raphinha from Rennes, and there’s plenty to get excited about after his arrival.
Indeed, the winger looks to be the real deal, with Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes giving his former teammate a glowing review back in 2019.
“Raphinha… I miss Raphinha,” said Fernandes. “He is a player with whom I had a different chemistry from others. He understood me at a glance, he knew according to the movement of my body where I was going to put the ball to him. I also miss him because he brought joy to the locker room. He is also someone responsible and hardworking,”
The 23-year-old’s record during his time at Rennes speaks for itself, he scored eight and assisted seven in 36 appearances as he helped the Ligue 1 outfit to a third-placed finish last term, but in order to get the best out of him, Marcelo Bielsa may need to tweak his tactics slightly.
The Argentine has used traditional wingers ever since he arrived at Elland Road with driving to the by-line and delivering a cross being a key part of Bielsa’s gameplan at Leeds, but if Raphinha is going to be as successful as possible, he may need to switch to a system involving inverted wingers.
The £14.4m-rated Brazilian’s best work comes on the right-wing, playing down that flank 28 times for Rennes, netting eight and assisting six while playing there, but with Raphinha being a left-footer, his style of play lends itself a lot more to cutting inside than it does getting to the byline.
This isn’t a totally alien idea for Bielsa – we saw Helder Costa operate as an inverted winger this during the second half against Manchester City as he was shifted out to the left after the introduction of Ian Poveda.
When you sign a player for £17m you want to get the best out of him, and the way to do that is to play him in the role he is most comfortable with, and for Raphinha that’s as an inverted winger.
It will certainly be interesting to see how the Leeds manager utilises his new signing.
In other news, how Leeds could line-up after the domestic deadline…