Rabbi Matondo strengths as Leeds United transfer linked amid Raphinha news - and Graham Smyth verdict

All the latest transfer news on Leeds United’s potential interest in Rabbi Matondo.

Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 5:00 pm

Leeds United have been linked with a move for Schalke winger Rabbi Matondo, according to an update from German publication Bild.

The Whites are credited with an interest in the Wales international, who has struggled to establish himself as a first team regular on the continent since completing a transfer from Manchester City in 2019.

Alongside Leeds, Brentford and Nottingham Forest are also said to be keen, with the wide man potentially available for as little as £3 million - a substantial decrease on the amount Schalke paid for him three years ago.

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Here’s everything you need to know about the player, and Leeds’ possible interest in him.

Who is Rabbi Matondo?

Matondo is a 21-year-old right winger who is currently on the books at German side Schalke.

The promising talent is a product of Cardiff City’s youth academy, but moved to Manchester City in 2016.

Having failed to make a senior appearance for the Premier League champions, he was sold to Schalke for around £8.1 million three years later.

Subsequent loan spells at Stoke City and Belgian outfit Cercle Brugge have provided the wide man with greater first team opportunities, although he does two goals in 31 outings for his parent club too.

During his stint in Belgium last season, Matondo scored nine times in 26 league appearances.

The rising star was handed his Wales debut in November 2018 at the age of 18, and has since gone on to amass 11 caps for his country.

What are Rabbi Matondo’s strengths?

Matondo shows great promise as a carrier of the ball, and often impresses with his willingness to take on defenders.

Last season, as per Whoscored, he averaged nearly twice as many dribbles per game as any other player in Cercle Brugge’s squad, and just 0.1 fewer than Raphinha registered per 90 minutes.

The Welshman has also shown an impressive eye for goal in recent times, and in particular an improved awareness in and around the box.

Eight out of his nine strikes last term came from inside the penalty area, with just one from 18 yards or further out.

There are some fairly obvious points on which Matondo could look to improve, however.

With a pass completion rate of just 64.9% in 2021/22, his possession retention evidently requires some work, while his willingness to track back and contribute defensively has also been called into question at times.

What is Leeds’ stance on signing Matondo?

Raphinha has been linked with an exit from Leeds with Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United are reportedly eyeing the player.

Explaining Leeds’ current stance on signing a player of Matondo’s ilk, the YEP’s chief football writer Graham Smyth explained: “Leeds are in the market for a striker right now and any further business is likely to be dictated by whatever happens with Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips.

“Should they sell either, Leeds will move to replace them and Victor Orta is lining up targets for both a wing role and a defensive midfield berth.

“Matondo, being a winger, seems an unlikely addition unless Raphinha is to depart.”