Raphinha has been lighting up the Premier League with Leeds United and such form has prompted Riyad Mahrez comparisons from Adrian Clarke.
The 24-year-old joined the Whites in a £17million deal from French side Rennes in October and after making his first start for the club in a 0-0 draw with Arsenal on November 22 he has not looked back.
He has started every single Premier League game since and made nine-goal contributions (four goals, five assists) to help fire Leeds to mid-table and safe from any relegation fight.
Appearing on The Totally Football Show podcast [22/02/22] former Arsenal footballer-turned-Premier League pundit Clarke mentioned him in the same breath as a Manchester City wing wizard with two Premier League titles to his name.
Clarke said: “He looks mega at the moment, that left foot of his is dreamy really. He should have pulled a couple of assists out of the bag in this game [v Wolves]. I just think as a right sider cutting in on his left, he is right up there.
“Obviously Riyad Mahrez is probably the pinnacle of that genre of winger but Raphinha has a lot of potential. I think that was a great signing.”
He’s certainly blown us away since his Rennes switch to announce himself as one of Europe’s most exciting talents and there is plenty more to come from the Brazilian.
In fact we would be prepared to stick our neck out and say that he is actually better than Mahrez.
Now that might seem like a strong statement on a player that has yet to reach 20 Premier League appearances but he is producing world-class performances on a consistent basis and what’s more is he does not shirk the defensive challenge either.
And nor can he in this Leeds side fostered by Marcelo Bielsa who demands intensity at all time during the game.
Mahrez has the same number of goal contributions as Raphinha despite playing for Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering Manchester City side that is sweeping all before them as they continue on their 18-match winning streak.
The Algerian is six years Raphinha’s senior but in our view has already been superseded by our number 18 and his languid style of play is a complete contrast to the energetic Whites ace.
We haven’t seen a player as special as Raphinha in a long time and can’t wait to see where he leads us to over the coming seasons.
In other Leeds United news, Liam Cooper stats show the Whites captain is being harshly judged.