Liverpool could land their next Diogo Jota this summer after being linked with Leeds United winger Raphinha.
What’s the story?
Jurgen Klopp’s charges have reportedly been monitoring the Brazilian for several months, and his comments in a recent interview have sparked further speculation over a possible move ahead of the upcoming transfer window.
Raphinha revealed his close relationship with compatriots Alisson Becker, Roberto Firmino and Fabinho to Portuguese outlet UOL Sport, providing fresh hope that an imminent arrival at Anfield is on the cards.
“In Liverpool, there is Alisson who is from the South too, so everything stays the same. There is still Fabinho, who is from the same place as Firmino and I,” revealed Raphinha.
“In fact, did you know that Firmino was the first guy who texted me when I came here? He’s a great friend.”
The next Jota
The former Rennes winger has enjoyed a fabulous first campaign on English shores, bagging six goals and providing nine assists in 30 Premier League appearances for Marcelo Bielsa’s men.
His impressive displays earned plenty of plaudits throughout 2020/21, including the Leeds manager himself.
“I sincerely think that I can add very little to his game,” Bielsa said after a 3-0 victory over Southampton. “The best thing you can do with players who are so spontaneous is to let them be themselves.”
A move for Raphinha wouldn’t be the first time that Liverpool had turned to a mid-table team to fix their attacking issues.
Diogo Jota arrived at Anfield in a £41m move from Wolves last year and proved to be an instant success on Merseyside.
Despite a string of injuries limiting the Portugal international’s game-time, Jota contributed to 14 goals in all competitions for the Reds in the recently concluded campaign, and there’s no reason why Raphinha couldn’t have a similar impact if he moves to Liverpool.
The drop-off in form that Sadio Mane and Firmino suffered during a desperately underwhelming 2020/21 is a major concern for Liverpool which needs addressing over the coming months, and the £22.5m-rated Leeds maestro (Transfermarkt) may be a logical solution.