Deco claims Raphinha wants to play at a higher level amid Leeds United exit speculation
Legendary Portuguese playmaker Deco claims Leeds United star Raphinha has “ambitions to play at a higher level”.
Brazilian-born Deco, capped 75 times by Portugal during a star-studded playing career that saw him represent Porto, Barcelona and Chelsea, among others, is now enjoying a career as an agent, and he represents Whites winger Raphinha and Liverpool midfielder Fabinho.
In an interview with Brazilian news outlet GE this week, Deco was asked about the chances of Raphinha departing Elland Road in 2022.
Deco said: “Raphinha is happy at Leeds and for sure the time will come to take the biggest leap in his career, to take a step forward. He has three more years of contract, but it is not the contract that defines the length of stay or prevents transfer. Leeds is aware, they will want to make an important sale, and Raphinha will end up growing in his career.”
He added: “Raphinha has a market, and Leeds has high expectations, it was never a project in a hurry.
“He has ambitions to play at a higher level despite Leeds being in the Premier League. But this is not the time (to talk about it) and his focus, things will happen naturally.”
Raphinha joined Leeds shortly after their return to the Premier League last year, playing a key role in securing ninth-place in the 2020/21 table.
The Whites have endured an uncertain start to the 2021/22 campaign, however, failing to record victory in their first six league games before a 1-0 win against Watford last time out.
Realistically, the West Yorkshire club are not expecting to trouble the European places, certainly not the Champions League positions.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that Raphinha nor his agent Deco ar nailing their colours to the mast at Elland Road.
Raphinha turns 25 in December and will be entering the prime years of his career.
He is showing the sort of form that marks him as one of the Premier League’s finest attacking talents, and that brings with it considerable interest from elite-level sides.
If Leeds cannot expect to provide Champions League football, or even Europa League football, in the coming years, Raphinha would be within his rights to pursue a move elsewhere, though Leeds must be fairly compensated for the loss of such a spectacular player who has now been capped by his nation.
In other Leeds United news, Simon Jordan was left stunned on Wednesday as Trevor Sinclair backed this 51-year-old to be the Whites boss.