With Raphinha one of the big shining lights for Leeds this season in the Premier League, one thing Marcelo Bielsa will no doubt be searching for is how he could make him even better and even more influential for the Whites.
One way he could do that is by bringing in Ivan Toney.
Reports in recent days have suggested that Leeds are eyeing a move for the Brentford striker in the summer transfer window, although they could face competition for his signature from fellow Premier League side Arsenal.
At Brentford, the striker has been in prolific form all season for the Championship side, already racking up an impressive 25 goals in all competitions.
Speaking earlier last year, Peterborough’s director of football, Barry Fry, said: “He’s turned into a tremendous all-round footballer. It’s important to remember Ivan is not just an exceptional goal-scoring forward, he’s also an outstanding defender.”
One of the key successes behind his goal-scoring record, is his relationship with the Bees’ right-winger, Bryan Mbeumo.
As per Transfermarkt, despite playing only 32 games together, they have already combined for seven goals between each other – Toney’s relationship with the Frenchman is only bettered in terms of goal contributions with former Peterborough teammate Marcus Maddison, although their tally of 14 came in 70 matches.
Mbeumo’s ability to beat players one-on-one but also have the end product at the end of it to actually pick his striker out, or go it alone, is very much reminiscent of Leeds’ own right-winger Raphinha.
Sky Sports pundit Don Goodman said just last year: “There are so many talented, skilful players that can dribble and beat players but they play with their head down and they don’t see the big picture. I think he really excels at picking the right time to cross the ball and picking players out.”
At Leeds, the £9m-rated Toney could play with another similar player in Raphinha, and it’s a partnership that could potentially wreak havoc in the Premier League.
Both Mbeumo and Raphinha are predominantly left-footed players who play off the right, usually cutting in with great effect. Toney’s relationship with the former at Brentford suggests he works very well with someone who’s not your typical wide-man who is used to getting to the by-line and crossing it in, instead, he likes those playrs coming off the touch-line and linking up with him.
With Raphinha, in fact, averaging even more key passes per game this season than Mbeumo (two to 1.2), Toney would surely get even more opportunities to score than he already does at Brentford. Just imagine the kind of partnership the duo could build under Bielsa’s guidence at Elland Road.