'Our focus is on Leeds United' - Raphinha's agent Deco on winger's adaptation, Stade Rennes exit and premature transfer talk
Raphinha's agent Deco has lifted the lid on his move to Leeds, transfer chatter and how he has adapted to life at Elland Road.
After arriving from Stade Rennes with less than an hour of the most recent summer transfer window remaining, Raphinha has adapted to English football unlike any Brazilian has ever done at Elland Road.
He follows in the footsteps of both Roqúe Junior and Adryan in LS11, and is just the third Brazilian to feature for Leeds in the club’s history.
However, unlike the relative disappointment of his predecessors, Raphinha has proven to the Leeds United supporters that Brazilian flair isn’t a myth.
Raphinha’s agent - Deco - wasn’t short of South American flair either, although most will remember him for his playing days, he has since changed career to become a football agent.
After winning the Champions League with both Porto and Barcelona, and coming runner-up in the 2004 Ballon d’or, Deco started the D20 Sports Agency after hanging up his boots in 2013 and has represented Raphinha for five years – first becoming aware of a nineteen-year-old Raphinha during the 2016 Copa Sao Paulo youth tournament during his days at Avaí.
Despite racking up 75 appearances for Portugal, Deco was also born in Brazil, and helped Raphinha replicate his own career path by making the move from Brazil to Portugal at a young age, similarly later finding his client a club in England.
Speaking with the LUFCFANZONE Podcast, Deco is extremely happy with how well Raphinha has adapted to life in England.
“Every day Raphinha is a better player than the day before, it’s not always easy to come to another country, a new league, and adapt," Deco said.
“I think the team is good, I believe he is happy playing at Leeds. The teammates received him very well and he already feels like a part of the dressing room family. That, in my opinion, is one of the main reasons why he is playing so well at Leeds.”
Deco confirmed that Leeds had managed to lure Raphinha away from Ligue 1 outfit Stade Rennes, a side who broke their transfer record to sign Raphinha and someone who played a vital role in their Champions League qualification, for less than the French side paid just 12 months prior.
“I don’t know why they chose to let him go," he added.
"I don’t know if it was a financial decision, or a technical decision, but what’s more important is the future - Raphinha is now at Leeds and is happy and playing well.
"Maybe Rennes look at the situation now and realise that they made a mistake, I don’t know, but the important thing is to look forward.”
Due to his outstanding performances in the Premier League and instant impact at Leeds, Raphinha has already been subject of paper talk – something which would see him move club after just one campaign for a third successive season.
“We never know, but now is not the time to think about that," Deco said over any premature transfer talk.
"It’s time to play football and I believe that this team can reach something important this season and I’m sure that Raphinha only thinks about that too.
"I know there is a lot of speculation about a transfer, but I believe that there is a time for that, now is not the time.
“First of all, it is a club decision, you always need to respect the club, but at this moment in time, neither myself or Raphinha are thinking about another move.
"You know football can move fast, and of course when you are playing very well in the Premier League there are other clubs who like him.
“The first thing that he needs to do is finish this season with the best qualification possible, and at the moment, more importantly, Raphinha is enjoying himself.
"I can’t speak for Raphinha, but I know he is enjoying it at Leeds, maybe one day a move might happen, but for now our focus is to play and achieve what is best for the club.”