Leeds attacker Raphinha has admirers at Liverpool but the Anfield side are one of ‘many clubs’ pursuing the Brazilian, his agent Deco has revealed.
The 24-year-old’s stock continues to increase and a brace for Brazil against Uruguay on Thursday, his first international goals, only adds to his price tag.
While accepting that the player is in ‘no rush’ to depart from Leeds, who he joined in 2020 from Rennes, former Barcelona and Chelsea midfielder Deco, now working as an agent, confirmed Liverpool are in hot pursuit.
‘There are certainly many clubs interested in him,’ Deco told Brazilian publication Globo.
‘Liverpool do like him and there were some approaches, but nothing official. Leeds wanted to keep him for another season.
‘Raphinha is happy at Leeds, but there will certainly come a time when he wants to take a step up in his career and move forward. He has three years left on his contract, but there’s nothing in it that states how long he must stay for or that prevents transfers.’
As stated by Deco, Raphinha has three years left to run on his contract in Yorkshire and Leeds are under no pressure to cash in on their star asset.
With Leeds sat 16th ahead of this weekend’s trip to Southampton, who are a spot lower at 17th, it is considered highly unlikely they will cash in on the Brazilian as early as the January window.
Raphinha has three goals from their opening seven league games and is a key part of Marcelo Bielsa’s side.
But Deco concedes that the player’s ambition will reach a point where he will be itching to push on to a ‘higher level’ in the Champions League.
‘Leeds are aware of that (contract) and will want to sell him for a big sum, while Raphinha will end up progressing in his career,’ Deco added.
‘He’s ambitious to play at a higher level, despite Leeds being in the Premier League, but it’s not the right time (to talk about that) and that’s not what he’s focused on. Things will take their course naturally.’
The immediate question around Raphinha at this moment is if he will be able to be involved for the trip to Southampton.
Given Brazil played in the early hours of Friday morning it is considered highly unlikely but boss Bielsa has so far refused to rule it out.
Asked for Raphinha’s availability, Bielsa said: “There is no doubt that it’s a short turnaround.
‘The options he has to participate in the game on Saturday depend on whether he plays this final game, how many minutes he plays, how he finishes the game after participating in it and how efficient his rest in the next 36 hours is.
‘Considering that a third of those hours he will spend on a flight and if there is any risk that fatigue could cause injuries, then we won’t risk it. There are so many aspects to consider that I can’t offer you any certainty either way.’
Several Premier League sides have chartered a private jet to ensure that their South American players are back for the weekend.
Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Leeds and Aston Villa are understood to be involved in clubbing together for an aircraft costing six figures to carry international players.
Raphinha is among those expected to fly back on the chartered jet along with United’s Edinson Cavani and Fred, City’s Ederson and Gabriel Jesus and Liverpool pair Alisson and Fabinho.