Leeds United's transfer silly season has already begun with Raphinha and Liverpool talk - it's going to be a long one

Of course they like Raphinha.

Friday, 4th June 2021, 1:47 pm
Updated Friday, 4th June 2021, 1:48 pm
Leeds United winger Raphinha. Pic: Getty

There won't be a 'big club' in Europe who aren't keenly aware of the Brazilian winger and what he can do. Quite why none of them acted when Leeds United did late in last summer's transfer window, we'll never know.

It has to go down as a big tick in Victor Orta's win column that he had already registered interest before Raphinha was available and it is a credit to the club for backing the director of football when, suddenly, a deal was to be made.

The fee Leeds paid looked good at the time but with hindsight it looks scandalous now.

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Even so, this £32m fee that has been bandied about wouldn't, or shouldn't be enough for Orta to even pick up the phone, not for a player of Raphinha's talent and potential, not for a player with three years left on his deal.

And as for Liverpool, they haven't been calling. As of Thursday afternoon Leeds had not had any contact or declaration of interest from Anfield.

It's always the case that there are three parties involved - the player and his camp, his current employers and the potential buyers.

It would be surprising if Deco, Raphinha's agent, had not fielded calls about the 24-year-old as the transfer window beckons.

For what it's worth, because players can insist they're happy to stay right up until suddenly the tune changes, Raphinha himself has made all the right noises.

So too have Leeds. A bid would not be welcome, says Orta.

Bids will come, if not this summer then surely next, especially if Raphinha matches or even betters what he did in his first Premier League season.

What Leeds fans have to get their heads around is that despite all the talk of European football, the club favour a Leicester City type model and that, at some stage, is going to require a player sale or two.

No one wants to lose their best players at any stage but by recruiting smartly, as Leeds have done, and selling expensively, other clubs have found a sustainability that helps them succeed.

The time to sell has not come, however, not unless someone offers the kind of money that would allow Orta to bring in three quality operators. Leeds are in a great position, holding a genuine asset with a long contract, and they can demand truly silly money.

Football's silly season has begun in earnest and you'll read all sorts about your club this summer. It's going to be a long one.