Man Utd: Solskjaer insists title race isn’t over yet
Forget Jadon Sancho, Leeds winger Raphinha could be the perfect fit for Manchester United as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks to elevate his attack to a new level next season. Last summer, the Norwegian was left bitterly disappointed by the club’s failure to land the Borussia Dortmund winger, a player he has been tracking since he was appointed permanent boss in March 2019.
While Sancho has got better with every game that’s gone by, it’s clear that the England international has endured a slight dip in the aftermath of his failed move to Old Trafford.
Still, he remains hopeful that he can land his dream switch with Dortmund expected to half their asking price to around £50million, after initially pricing United out of a deal last summer.
Yet surprisingly, United appear to have cooled their interest in the 20-year-old, and should Solskjaer still decide he wants a winger despite the emergence of Mason Greenwood, Daniel James and Amad, Raphinha could be his man.
Last night after the former Rennes wideman ran riot for Leeds in their 3-0 demolition of Southampton, United supporters began to buzz on social media at the prospect of a lucrative swoop for the 24-year-old.
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Bruno Fernandes rates Raphinha highly and Man Utd should take note
It’s only been a matter of months since he arrived at Elland Road for £17million but he already looks destined for an even bigger move. As much as that may offend Whites supporters, who have fallen in love with their new star man.
His trickery and dribbling ability is reminiscent of Riyad Mahrez, as he parades inside from the right flank and onto his devastating left foot.
And while full-backs are keen to show him down the line, there does not seem to be any way of stopping him besides hauling him down, despite knowing what will come next.
Raphinha is also a dead ball specialist and that was evident against the Saints as he curled home a 25-yard free-kick.
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He now has five goals and five assists to his name in the Premier League this season and the stats suggest he could potentially explode in the next year or two.
United are sorely lacking a reliable source of goals from out wide, something that was no problem for their forwards last season.
Marcus Rashford blows hot and cold while Anthony Martial and Greenwood have failed to match the standards they set last season under Solskjaer.
As seen when Diogo Jota first arrived at Liverpool, a new addition could give the underperforming United forwards a kick up the backside.
Not many are aware, but Raphinha actually played alongside Bruno Fernandes for Sporting and their telepathic connection on the pitch was one of the Primeira Liga side’s greatest assets.
After the jet-heeled forward left for Rennes in 2019, Fernandes lauded his star quality and admitted he was missing his former team-mate.
“Raphinha, I miss Raphinha,” Fernandes was quoted by Top Mercato in December 2019. “He’s a player with whom I had a different chemistry from the others. He understood me at a glance.
“He knew, according to the movement of my body, where I was going to put the ball to him.
“I also miss him because he brought joy to the locker room. He’s also a responsible and hardworking person.”
Bruno Fernandes played with Raphinha at Sporting and loved their understanding on the field
Fernandes didn’t have to think twice before sweeping through balls in behind for Raphinha.
The Leeds man’s movement and willingness to get in behind is an attacking midfielder’s dream.
There’s no shadow of a doubt that Raphinha is a signing that Fernandes would personally vouch for at United.
While he’s unlikely to come cheap given his value to Marcelo Bielsa, there’s every chance he could cost less than Sancho.
Given his monstrous impact and importance to United, Fernandes’ opinion is worth listening to. If he rates Raphinha, this is a signing worth pushing for.