According to reports, Leeds United have got their eye on Juventus star Douglas Costa as a potential replacement for Raphinha.
Reports in recent days have suggested that Raphinha is attracting admiring glances from reigning Premier League champions Liverpool, and that appears to have set things in motion behind the scenes at Elland Road.
According to Fichajes, Marcelo Bielsa has already identified his ideal replacement for the Brazilian, in Juventus’ Costa, who is currently out on loan at Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich this season.
The report adds that the 30-year-old “meets all the requirements for Bielsa” in terms of his style of play, and that Costa himself would be “delighted” to embark on a new challenge in English football.
While he might be getting on a bit now, there’s no questioning that Costa remains a very dangerous player, and someone who boasts very similar characteristics to Raphinha, which is exactly why he would be perfect for Bielsa.
Both Brazilians are left-footed and play off the right flank to cut in onto their strong foot, and are really prolific dribblers. Last season, Costa averaged 1.9 dribbles per game in Serie A, whilst Raphinha has averaged slightly less this campaign in the Premier League with 1.5.
As much as they are about beating a man with a piece of skill and trickery, the duo also have the composure to really pick a teammate out, with Costa averaging 1.3 key passes last year, and Raphinha managing 1.6 this time around.
Costa’s former manager at Juventus, Massimiliano Allegri, hailed him as a “player who breaks matches often” ie. a game-changer. And then, the Italian’s successor at the Bianconeri, Maurizio Sarri, echoed those sentiments by saying “he is able to shift the balance of the games”.
The £190k-a-week earning Costa has been playing Champions League football year-in and year-out with the likes of Juventus and Bayern Munich, and is a serial winner, picking up league titles and domestic cups at an astonishing rate – he’s won eight trophies in the past five years alone.
Costa’s directness and eye for goal makes him a dangerous threat, and it’s no wonder Bielsa’s got his sights set on the Brazilian. He seems tailor made for the Leeds boss, and has got all the tools in his locker to really fit in seamlessly at Elland Road.