By George Overhill

17th Jan, 2022 | 6:00am

Robbie Keane warns Leeds United over Raphinha future

Robbie Keane has warned that Leeds United could fall apart if Raphinha is sold, following his top performance from the Brazilian in the victory at West Ham.

Speaking after the game on Sky Sports, the Premier League great felt that the forward’s form will be making him a target for “any top four team in the world”.

The ex-United striker believes that such teams could be motivated to make a move for the 25-year-old during the current transfer window but worries about the future at Elland Road if that materialises.

Following the 3-2 win at the London Stadium, the pundit said on Sky Sports: “This is a big big month for Leeds because… if you sell him to a top team, that team [Leeds] could fold.

“He is the one who gets them together when [Patrick] Bamford’s been out. He is the one who has picked the team up.”

Key man

The former Rennes and Sporting attacker has been one of the few key attacking players available to Marcelo Bielsa for an extended period this season.

He assisted Jack Harrison’s hat-trick goal in the win on Sunday and missed out on a second when Mateusz Klich’s fourth was ruled out by VAR for an offside on the line.

Raphinha had created the goal with excellent work down the right hand side, beating Issa Diop with ease before finding his Polish teammate with a great ball into the box.

He has been a key source of goals this year as well, with eight in the league already, averaging out to almost one every other game.

As Ireland’s record goalscorer Keane noted, the rest of the Leeds players appear keenly aware of the star man’s importance, particularly in the absence of senior men such as Kalvin Phillips and Patrick Bamford.

Back-to-back victories have started the tough climb away from the bottom of the Premier League table and to lose him to a big club would make that significantly harder.

Liverpool have been credited with a long-term interest (Liverpool Echo) and although Rodrigo returned as a substitute at West Ham, and Bielsa suggested afterwards that Bamford may not be too far away from following, it is still a crucial situation at Elland Road.

In other Leeds United news, this Whites player was blasted for a ‘horrible’ moment during the West Ham clash.