As per 90min, the Hammers are believed to be ‘considering’ whether to make another bid for the 25-year-old this summer, with reports back in the winter suggesting that GSB were willing to fork out a club-record fee to prise him from Elland Road, although were ultimately rebuffed by the Yorkshire side.
That doesn’t appear to have put David Moyes and co off as they eye another swoop in the current window, with the latest suggestion being that he could command an asking price of around £45m.
The arrival of the nine-cap international to the London Stadium would represent a major coup for the club, with the former Rennes man – who signed for Leeds in a £17m deal two years ago – having proven himself something of a “superstar” in recent times, in the words of one journalist.
The £63k-per-week gem – who has also been dubbed “a really special player” by Statman Dave – has lit up the Premier League over the last two years, notably registering 29 goal contributions over the last two seasons combined.
That included 11 goals in the most recent campaign to help drag Jesse Marsch’s side to safety, the £40.5m-rated magician bagging a vital goal from the penalty spot in the dramatic final day victory away at Brentford to secure the visitors’ top-flight safety.
A player of his talents, however, simply doesn’t belong in a relegation dogfight, with West Ham able to offer him the chance to steal the limelight in European competition, even if it is only the Europa Conference League that they will be competing in next term.
Described as a “baller” by teammate Tyler Roberts, Raphinha possesses that rare ability to produce something out of nothing with a sheer moment of genius, with such mercurial talents having often thrived for the Hammers – namely Paolo Di Canio and Dimitri Payet.
Not that he shirks his defensive duties, however, with the 5 foot 9 playmaker ranking in the top 9% for blocks made and the top 21% for interceptions made among those in his position across Europe’s top five leagues, showcasing his willingness to do the dirty work.
That trait will undoubtedly go down well with Moyes and if he can combine that with a regular supply of goals and assists, then the club could well have a real superstar on their hands.