Reports today claim that Manchester United are planning on hijacking any attempt by Liverpool to land Leeds United ace Raphinha.
Reds boss Jürgen Klopp has been keeping a close eye on the 24-year-old Brazilian forward as he looks to shake up his attacking options following a dismal season so far. Speculation continues to suggest that either Mo Salah or Roberto Firmino could be moved out in the summer although uncertainty surrounding football finances due to the Covid pandemic and in particular the financial problems that Real Madrid and Barcelona are currently having to deal with, could limit potential big-money exits during the next transfer window.
While Liverpool scouts are currently focusing most of their attention on centre-backs, we do know that they have been watching Raphinha. Liverpool scout Andy O’Brien is understood to be sending back frequent reports to the Liverpool manager and according to club insiders, they have been favourable with well-placed sources claiming the boss has asked the Anfield hierarchy to explore the possibility of a potential deal.
Reports originating from Italy claim that United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has already instructed agents to sound out Raphinha to see if he would be interested in a move to Old Trafford. Those claims have been taken seriously at Anfield which suggests that Liverpool’s interest in Raphinha is quite elevated. However, we are informed that Liverpool have not made any kind of contact as yet with the player’s representatives either directly or indirectly via 3rd party intermediaries.
Leeds obviously want to hold on to Raphinha, who has been involved in 10 of Leeds United’s 20 Premier League goals so far this season, but if a big offer comes in, they may find it hard to resist, especially if the player pushes for a move.
It’s worth noting that Leeds have been linked with Real Madrid winger Lucas Vazquez (29) who has rejected a new contract offer from the Spanish giants as it falls short of the salary he has requested. Vazquez, who was linked with Liverpool in 2016 and 2018, is available on a free transfer in the summer and can subsequently sign a pre-contract agreement with an English club. It would appear that Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa has identified Vazquez as a possible replacement for Raphinha, should he be sold.
Meanwhile, Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson has undergone surgery on a groin injury and is likely to be sidelined for 6 to 8 weeks.