Marcelo Bielsa instantly approved of Raphinha when Victor Orta suggested signing the Brazilian winger to the Leeds United manager, according to The Athletic’s Phil Hay.
Leeds signed Raphinha, 23, for £17million from Rennes early last month after Bielsa gave Orta the go-ahead to complete the deal.
Writing on The Athletic website, Hay reports that when Orta put his name to Bielsa, the Argentinean “nodded his head and told Orta that, as it happened, he had been following Raphinha’s career for a while”. It is understood that Raphinha’s “flair intrigued him”.
Raphinha’s flair was abundantly clear on Sunday as he made his full Leeds debut in the 0-0 draw against Arsenal at Elland Road.
According to stats by WyScout, the £17million summer signing completed all three of the dribbles he attempted while also making one progressive run and enjoying four touches inside the Arsenal penalty area.
While none of the Brazilian’s four shots at goal were on target, it was encouraging to see such a forward-thinking, direct player charging towards goal and trying to get himself – or one of his team-mates on the scoresheet.
If Leeds weren’t playing against one of the Premier League’s ‘big-six’ sides, you would imagine that Raphinha would have had a bit more luck and that is why we cannot wait to see what he can do in the coming weeks.
Up next for Leeds are away clashes against high-flyers Everton and Chelsea.
Everton have not kept a clean sheet since the opening day of the season but Chelsea could prove to be a tough test for Bielsa and his attacking players.
That game, away at Stamford Bridge, will be a massive test for someone like Raphinha to see what he can do against one of the stronger Premier League defences.
In other Leeds United news, this Whites ace has been told to “have a word with himself” after the draw with Arsenal.