By Neil Champney

7th Oct, 2020 | 9:00am

MOT View: Killer streak could make Leeds new boy into major goal threat

After the summer they’ve had, Leeds United were always going to have one more deadline day trick up their sleeves. 

The Whites have gone big in the transfer window over the past couple of months, and they capped off their eye-catching haul with a swoop for Rennes winger Raphinha.

The 23-year-old Brazilian is meant to be a flying machine with an eye for goal, but what sort of player are Leeds really getting for their money?

The short answer is a wide man with a killer predatory streak.

If we compare Raphinha’s stats from last season to Helder Costa’s, we see that his shot accuracy was 8.9% higher, his xG was 0.07 better, and his goals per 90 minutes was superior by 0.12, as per Wyscout.

At least some of those discrepancies are explained by Raphinha’s positional sense.

If we look at his heat map from last season, as pictured above, compared to Costa’s, below, we see a much greater tendency to drift into more central areas, especially around the edge of the 18-yard box.

It almost goes without saying, but taking up those areas are always going to lead to more opportunities for a player, and the willingness to make excursions in-field could be a really useful asset in terms of providing aid and support to Patrick Bamford.

Interestingly, however, Raphinha does seem to have a real poacher’s instinct too.

If we look at his most recent 75 shots for Rennes, we see that while there is a smattering of efforts from slightly more ranged areas, a lot of his goals come from in and around the six-yard box.

That tendency to follow balls into dangerous positions can be a hugely useful weapon for an attacking unit, as the likes of Raheem Sterling has proved so brilliantly for Manchester City in recent seasons.

Raphinha’s strikes against Nantes back in January, although slightly unorthodox, is a perfect illustration of those striking instincts.

Just prior to this penalty being taken, the Brazilian – wearing number seven – is behind three defenders.

Not only that, but there is good four or five yards between him and them.

As the ball is struck, however, we can see that he is already on the move.

Raphinha is travelling at quite a pace, and as soon as he puts his foot down, it’s clear what the outcome is going to be, should the keeper make the save.

He does, and the gamble pays off.

By the time the balls rebounds to Raphinha he is leagues ahead of his nearest marker, and is gifted with an unmissable tap-in.

It’s simple, it’s not exactly revolutionary, but it does prove that Leeds have snapped up a talent here with real potential to be a major, major goal threat for them.

We can’t wait to see him in action.

In other Leeds United news, Bruno Fernandes sent a message to Raphinha after he signed for the Whites.