Marcelo Bielsa has indicated that he could use new Leeds United signing, Raphinha, in a central midfield position.
Leeds swooped to sign Raphinha on the final day of the European transfer window. He’s arrived for a fee of £17m from Rennes.
Although a winger by trade, Bielsa has been noting his unexpected plans for the 23-year-old.
Raphinha arrives at Elland Road after a spell on the wing with Rennes. There, he predominantly played from the right, scoring five goals and registering three assists in Ligue 1 last season.
However, Bielsa has been underlining his versatility to his pre-match press conference (Leeds Live) ahead of Monday’s meeting with Wolves. He confirmed the forward can play right or left, or could even adapt to play through the centre in his 4-1-4-1 system.
He’s an additional alternative to the right-wing position, left-wing position and eventually to the central, offensive midfield position. Fundamentally, he’s a winger who can play on the right or left-hand side.
It’s widely expected that Raphinha will be involved in the matchday squad on Monday when Leeds take on Wolves.
This is an interesting development. Raphinha arrives as a winger, but Bielsa clearly sees something in him that suggests he can play in a central position.
He’s potentially more in the mould of Pablo Hernandez or Rodrigo, rather than Mateusz Klich. Nevertheless, he’s still an exciting option in there.
Initially, you’ve got to feel that Raphinha will compete with Helder Costa on the wing, but if we can finally see him in the No.8/10 position it’ll be good to watch.
He might well be the reason we’ve not chased after another player on the back of missing out on Michael Cuisance. He and Rodrigo, although not traditional midfield players, have skills that clearly suit what Bielsa wants.
They could prove to be good addition in more ways than one if they cover that shortcoming in this squad.