Leeds United’s Raphinha has opened up on speculation linking him with moves to Liverpool and Manchester United.
With Jurgen Klopp having reportedly made the forward position a priority for strengthening ahead of the summer window, the 24-year-old stands as a potentially ideal target for the Reds who have already secured their first signing in Ibrahima Konate.
“It is difficult to explain how I feel when I hear speculation about giant teams like Liverpool and Manchester United being interested in signing me,” the Brazilian told UOL Sport (via CaughtOffside).
“Man, I grew up watching these teams on TV. I saw Rooney, Van Nistelrooy, Cristiano Ronaldo, but I also saw Gerrard, as well as others like Henry, Deco, Lampard.
“There are so many players of such quality that it is difficult to say if I mirrored one of them. I think I mirrored the league, you know? I loved watching it and dreamed of playing here.”
The former Rennes man has enjoyed an impressive maiden season in West Yorkshire, registering 15 goal contributions in 30 league appearances.
With a contract not set to run out until the summer of 2024, however, Raphinha is a potential target perhaps beyond our price range, with Marcelo Bielsa’s side well within their rights to charge a premium for their star player’s services.
Whether such a fee extends beyond the £40m plus mark could make all the difference – particularly given that Liverpool bought Diogo Jota last year for £41m – in terms of whether we bite or not with the No.18.
Otherwise, we’d expect the recruitment team to look elsewhere for someone to bolster the forward line who hasn’t quite yet reached elite status at their current side.