Raphinha to Liverpool transfer rumours – and why fans should be cautious

With Sadio Mane bearing down on the Anfield exit, Liverpool have been touted with a move for Leeds winger Raphinha, but fans should be wary of reports.

As Bayern Munich emerge as favourites in pursuit of Mane, who has one year left on his contract, the Reds are seeking a replacement before they sanction a move for their No. 10.

It is a sensible strategy, avoiding further difficulty in negotiation with other clubs, but it remains to be seen who Liverpool will identify as Mane’s successor.

The likes of Ismaila Sarr, Jonathan David and Jeremy Doku have been reported as targets in the past and could certainly return to the radar this summer.

But the Mirror‘s Steve Bates claims it is Raphinha, the 25-year-old Leeds winger, who has been earmarked as the next big signing on Merseyside.

Bates writes that Liverpool are “ramping up interest” in the Brazil international, who is valued at £60 million, adding that Takumi Minamino “could be the bait” due to his previous relationship with Jesse Marsch.

LEEDS, ENGLAND - Sunday, September 12, 2021: Leeds United's Raphael Dias Belloli 'Raphinha' remonstrates with referee Craig Pawson after a red card is shown to Pascal Struijk during the FA Premier League match between Leeds United FC and Liverpool FC at Elland Road. Liverpool won 3-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Barcelona have been named as suitors for Raphinha in the past, but Bates argues that as they are “deep in debt” they would need to “sell before they can buy.”

This would suggest Liverpool could have a clear run at a deal for Leeds‘ No. 10, but there should be skepticism when it comes to the veracity of Bates’ report.

As ever, transfer rumours in Sunday papers should be taken with at least a pinch of salt, and more often than not a whole shaker, as they are designed to sell copies and generate clicks from sofa-committed fans on their day off.

On the same day, the same publication published another story claiming Mo Salah has been “promised a move” to Barcelona next year, when he would be a free agent, and that Liverpool are “in two minds” about keeping the Egyptian or selling him this summer.

CHARLOTTE, USA - Sunday, July 22, 2018: A Liverpool supporter with a sign "Pulisic 2 LFC? Please" during a preseason International Champions Cup match between Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool FC at the Bank of America Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Meanwhile, BILD‘s Christian Falk – who, by the way, claimed it was “not true” that Bayern were working on a deal for Mane only last month – has presented Chelsea‘s Christian Pulisic as a candidate to replace the Senegalese.

It is a tangled web with little joined-up thinking, and while there has certainly been interest in Raphinha in the past, this seems more of a stab in the dark from Bates.

More than likely, whoever Liverpool target as a replacement for Mane will not have been spoken about in the weeks leading up to their transfer – especially not on a Sunday!