Brazilian winger Raphinha has emphatically denied talk of a summer move to Liverpool or Manchester United with his most emphatic show of loyalty to Leeds United yet.
The attacker moved to Elland Road over the summer for just £17m from Rennes. His performances for Marcelo Bielsa’s side have won him an army of admirers – and earned him the tag the ‘bargain signing of the season’ in the process.
As such, the forward‘s performances have reportedly attracted attention from United and Liverpool.
Speculation suggests that Liverpool scouts have earmarked Raphinha as a player who would suit Jurgen Klopp’s system.
Reports on Sunday, meanwhile, claimed Manchester United were ready to make the Leeds star a summer priority. He knows Bruno Fernandes well from their time together at Sporting Lisbon.
The Leeds star’s agent, Deco, spoke of interest in his client recently and said it was ‘too soon’ to consider exit talk.
However, ahead of Leeds’ clash with West Ham on Monday night, Raphinha has given his firmest response yet to claims he could leave.
And rather than hint at an Elland Road exit, the Brazilian seems very happy at Leeds and not thinking of leaving.
Raphinha told Sky Sports: “The club, all the people who work here, the staff and the players have really helped me develop. I’m really grateful for this and always look to do my best for them all. This creates a bond with everybody here.
“I’m really happy here and feel I’ve adapted well. I think everything’s in place for us to achieve good results working together.
“We know that Leeds are a club who belong in the Premier League. We’ll be always looking to keep the club here. We’re also aware that we’re a promoted side that needs to adapt to the league like we’re doing now. Our initial objective is to stay in the top division.”
Raphinha explains love for ‘professor Bielsa’
Raphinha has scored five goals and has five assists to his name from his time at Leeds so far.
Speaking about the conditions that led to his move, Raphinha has explained how he was immediately made to feel welcome by Bielsa.
“I found out at the last minute that there was an offer from Leeds and professor Bielsa wanted me here. It all had to be resolved very quickly. The transfer window was about to close the following day,” Raphinha added.
“It’s always an easy decision when there’s genuine interest from the club and genuine interest from the manager. I think that makes the decision easier for a player. The player feels embraced and that they will be a part of the project.
“The way in which they demonstrated that they wanted me to be a part of the club. The way the manager showed how he wanted me to be a part of his team… It was all very important in my decision.”
Raphinha’s deal at Leeds runs until 2024 and there is already talk he could be offered an extension.
And with Leeds having no desire to sell, this interview will look to put to bed speculation over his future.