Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Barcelona Eyeing This Leeds United Winger As A Replacement For Dembele: Good Fit For Xavi?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

In a recent report, Mundo Deportivo stated that Barcelona are eyeing Leeds United winger Raphinha as a replacement for Ousmane Dembele if the French winger decides not to extend his contract this summer. It has been claimed that the Catalan giants are hoping to acquire the services of the Brazilian wide player in this off-season.

Raphinha’s Impressive Numbers At Elland Road Last Season

Raphinha had to endure a difficult campaign with the Whites as he was forced to help them survive a relegation scare in the Premier League. The 25-year-old registered 11 goals and three assists in 36 appearances for the West Yorkshire club last season in all competitions.

The Brazilian sensation gave a good account of himself by averaging 1.5 tackles, 2.5 shots, 1.9 key passes and 1.8 dribbles per 90 minutes in the English top flight.

However, he was a bit untidy when interchanging possession in the opponent’s half, as evidenced by his pass success rate of 69.3% in the top tier of English football (stats via whoscored).

Leeds United (Raphinha)
Leeds United’s Brazilian midfielder Raphinha Dias Belloli celebrates after scoring the opening goal from the penalty spot during the English Premier League football match between Brentford and Leeds United at Brentford Community Stadium in London on May 22, 2022. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images) The 4th Official uses images provided by the following image agency: Getty Images (https://www.gettyimages.de/) Imago Images (https://www.imago-images.de/)

Is Raphinha A Good Fit For Barcelona Boss Xavi?

Raphinha has decent pace under his belt and can make a few dangerous runs with the ball out on the flanks. He is a decent crosser of the ball and can set up a few clear-cut chances in the attacking end of the field.

The Brazilian sensation can even chip in by scoring his fair share of goals up top. Raphinha is primarily a right-sided wide player but can even play as a left-winger if needed. However, he needs to find a way to improve his creativity in the opposition half.

Raphinha will no doubt enhance the quality of Barca head coach Xavi‘s starting XI and help the Catalan giants bring some success back to the Nou Camp in the coming seasons.

At 25, the Brazilian talent is about to embark upon the prime years of his playing career, which makes him a good fit for Barcelona this summer. Xavi can expect to get the best out of Raphinha as long as he makes a smooth transition to life in Spanish football.

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