Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa has said that Raphinha is “fundamentally” an option for either wing, rather than a number 10.

The attacker arrived from Rennes during the transfer window, but is yet to start a match for the newly promoted side.

With Mateusz Klich forced into a more defensive midfield role in the absence of Kalvin Phillips and Rodrigo unavailable, there had been questions about whether he could play in a central attacking midfield role.

Bielsa himself had hinted at that in a previous press conference.

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However, Bielsa confirmed in his press conference that he sees the Brazilian primarily as a winger.

“He fundamentally plays on either wing,” he said (via Leeds’ official website)

“He’s a player who is naturally very attacking with dribbling skills and he likes to get in behind the defence. He likes to attack and these skill are applicable out wide as well as in the centre.

“I won’t say I won’t use him in any other position but I fundamentally see him as a player for either wing. He has played in the centre as a striker and an attacking midfielder, but he arrived in our team to be an alternative on the wings.”

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Specific vision

Brought to the club for a fee of around £17 million, Raphinha is yet to make an impact at Elland Road and has been restricted to just 15 minutes of football over two substitute appearances.

However, it seems that Bielsa has a clear idea for where he sees the 23-year-old fitting into his side, and that is as competition for existing wide men Helder Costa and Jack Harrison.

In his six Ligue 1 appearances for Rennes before arriving in Yorkshire, he scored once and provided two assists, building on the five goals and three assists he produced for the side last season (via WhoScored).

Averaging 2.2 dribbles per match in Ligue 1 last season, it is clear he is comfortable with the ball at his feet (via WhoScored), while he produced 0.64 expected goals plus assists per 90 (via FBRef), further evidence of his creative talent.

In other Leeds news, MOT View: One of the best in the PL – Why Leeds must stay true to Bielsa


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