Leeds United have made a big impression since ending their 16-year Premier League exile last term, playing an exciting and entertaining brand of football under Marcelo Bielsa’s guidance.
The Whites secured famous victories over Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur while holding Liverpool to a draw, illustrating that they belonged at the highest level of English football once again.
A huge amount of their success was down to the innovative and excellent tactics of renowned manager Marcelo Bielsa, but the players at his disposal also played their part.
And while the existing spine were key to Leeds establishing themselves as a top-flight force, one summer signing played a particularly pivotal role in their ninth-placed finish.
Raphinha arrived from Ligue 1 outfit Stade Rennais via a £17m deal as a relatively unknown talent and made a slow start to life on English shores.
In his first eight league appearances for Leeds, the Brazil international scored just a single goal, albeit the winner in a 1-0 victory over Everton.
However, Raphinha sparked into life over the festive period, going on to bag five more goals and provide nine assists in his subsequent 22 top-flight outings for Bielsa’s charges.
And the South American sensation has taken his game to another level in the opening weeks of the current campaign.
He’s found the back of the net on five occasions in just ten outings for his club and has scored two goals and laid on two assists in four caps for his national team, highlighting his growing influence over proceedings.
Raphinha’s devastating form of late has seen teammate Dan James label him as a “magician”, while his market value risen to a whopping £28.8m less than 18 months on from his switch to Leeds, further illustrating the Yorkshire outfit’s impressive work in securing his services.
Whether the £63,000-per-week versatile forward’s long-term future lies at Elland Road or not remains to be seen, but if he does depart, then Leeds will surely make a healthy profit on their prized asset.