Well, it’s been a bit of a trying day in Tottenham Hotspur-land, hasn’t it? Let’s decompress with something a little different — a bog-standard, but still interesting, transfer rumor.
According to The Athletic (£), Tottenham are now keeping a close eye on Leeds United forward Raphinha as a potential signing for the “Harry Kane backup” position, and the Brazilian is seen as an option of they are not able to negotiate a deal with Everton for countryman Richarlison. It’s been assumed that he’d be the subject of a bid from Barcelona, who have been strongly linked with him, but if you’re not aware Barca are in the middle of a pretty substantial financial crisis. It’s not known if they can raise the funds to afford a bid for Raphinha, and now apparently Spurs, Chelsea, and Arsenal are monitoring the situation.
Raphinha, 25, is coming off of a season during which he scored 11 goals and tallied three assists, playing mostly as a wide attacking midfielder, but also as a forward and even occasionally as a wingback (!!). Those are pretty decent stats, but even better when you consider that Leeds fired their manager and nearly got relegated this season. Potentially concerning was that he only scored two goals in Leeds’ last 13 league matches, but there’s definitely talent there.
Raphinha has positional flexibility much like Richarlison does, but at 25 he’s not especially young and his numbers don’t really pop all that much. There’s a bit to dream on here, and it’s certainly possible that, like Richarlison, Raphinha could be poised to explode when put in a much better team with better players around him. The Athletic doesn’t mention a transfer fee, but does say Leeds would be open to selling him if “their valuation is met” and that Tottenham wouldn’t purchase both Raphinha AND Richarlison — it’d be one or the other. I can’t really imagine Raphinha would have a higher transfer value than the £50-70m quoted for Richarlison, but he almost certainly wouldn’t come cheap. Until we know more about it, it’s something to keep an eye on.
This doesn’t have the feel of something that’s imminent, but between Raphinha and Richarlison we’re getting a pretty good idea now of the kind of attacking player that Spurs are looking at — less a backup No. 9 and more a flexible, progressive utility player that can be slotted in at a variety of positions based on opponent and need.