Marsch 'always believed' Leeds would stay up
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Leeds United winger Raphinha’s transfer saga has taken another twist as a potential replacement for the Brazilian in Sporting Lisbon’s Gonzalo Plata has suffered an injury. The Ecuadorian has been seen as a potential replacement for Raphinha should he leave Elland Road this summer.
The 25-year-old, who scored 11 Premier League goals last season for Leeds, has been linked with a move to several top six clubs and to Barcelona. Jesse Marsch’s side are likely to hold out for a fee of over £50million for their prized asset.
However any deal to take Raphinha away from Leeds could now be more complicated as potential replacement Plata has picked up an ankle injury that could sideline him for as long as eight weeks, meaning he would miss pre-season with Leeds. Portuguese newspaper O Jogo claim that his injury “complicates” any sale, and the report does say that he is on Leeds’ radar as an option to replace Raphinha.
Express Sport included Plata on the list of players that could have become Leeds’ third summer signing after completing deals for Brenden Aaronson and Rasmus Kristensen, both from Red Bull Salzburg.
Former Leeds goalkeeper Paul Robinson was in favour of Plata as a replacement for Raphinha. “He sounds very much like a Raphinha type of player,” the ex-England stopper told MOT Leeds News. “They seem to be highly sought-after, these wingers who play on the opposite side to what foot they are. I’d be surprised if Raphinha is still there at the start of next season.
“I think with where his value is at the moment, his ambitions and how good he’s been the last two years, I’d be very surprised if he’s there at the start of next season. I think a big club will come in and they’ll test the water with Champions League football possibly going.
“For Leeds, depending on what type of transfer budget they’ve got, they’ll do well selling him and putting the money back in the team. If they are looking at the type of players like Plata at Sporting, it would suggest he’s seen as a replacement for Raphinha.”
Barcelona have strongly been mentioned as a landing spot for Raphinha if he does decide to leave Leeds this summer, and club legend Ronaldinho has already urged his compatriot to sign for the Nou Camp outfit this summer. “I would very much like him to come,” he said last month. “He has a lot of quality, he would fit in very well with Spanish football due to his playing characteristics.”
Whether Barcelona can meet Leeds’ demands is uncertain though. They are reportedly in talks with Manchester United to sell Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong to raise funds for their pursuit of Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski, but it is not clear whether De Jong would bring in enough money for the Spanish giant to sign both Lewandowski and Raphinha.
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