View: Leeds United have perfect Raphinha replacement already at club
Leeds United have the perfect Raphinha replacement already at the club in the shape of highly anticipated youth prospect Archie Gray.
The Brazilian looks set to join Spanish giants Barcelona despite the Whites declining their first bid [Daily Mail] in what is likely to be an attempt to get as much money as possible for their key man.
Instead of spending big on a replacement for the winger, Jesse Marsch should dive deep into the Leeds ranks where Gray waits eagerly waiting for his chance.
Aged just 16, the attacking midfielder has already established himself as a key player in Mark Jackson’s under 23s team.
Marsch is already keen on the youngster after telling Leeds Live: “I thought it was a really good performance. I know there’s massive anticipation for Archie to be a big, talented player. I think that he’s intelligent – he can read the game really well, he can run all day, he’s good on the ball.
“He’s got a lot of really good qualities to be a strong player in the middle of the field. Archie has an incredible bloodline, he’s a big talent here, a homegrown talent.”
Gray is certainly a huge talent for the future but his wait for first-team action could be cut short much to the teenager’s delight.
He has bossed it at every single level at the Whites’ academy and his influence on the U23s at such a young age can’t be ignored and it isn’t.
Marsch’s comments will give the lad a glimmer of hope that he can burst onto the scene very soon if he keeps impressing.
Age shouldn’t matter in football, if you are good enough you play and Gray is definitely good enough.
He deserves to be with the senior squad throughout pre-season – at least – next year to show the American coach what he can do but he shouldn’t be rushed into action.
If he isn’t ready, then he could go out on loan to develop himself further or simply stay with the U23s.
Gray is a huge talent and when he gets going, he will be a far better player than Raphinha.
In other Leeds United news, Rob Page was left in awe of ‘unbelievable’ Whites attacker Dan James.