By Alan Hutton

21st Jan, 2022 | 3:00pm

Raphinha could sign for 'Champions League club' after Leeds news in last 48 hours - pundit

“Big teams” will be monitoring contract negotiations between Leeds United and Raphinha, according to Alan Hutton.

The former Scotland defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, claimed the 25-year-old will have “ambitions” to play in the Champions League.

According to the Athletic’s Phil Hay (19 January), Raphinha is “prepared to sign” a new contract with Leeds United – with the Whites “hopeful of bringing negotiations to a positive conclusion before the month is out”.

Football Insider revealed last year (13 October) that Raphinha is one of three Whites stars on the radar of Liverpool after “blowing away” top Anfield talent-spotters.

Hutton suggested “everything good” at Elland Road comes through the Brazil international.

“He’s the standout performer for Leeds United at this moment in time,” he told Football Insider‘s Russell Edge.

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“He makes them tick, and everything good comes through him. The players look to him for that moment of magic.

“It really doesn’t surprise me that they’re looking to tie him down long-term, because there’ll be a number of big teams out there monitoring the situation who would love a player like Raphinha.

“I totally get why Bielsa and Leeds are trying to get him to sign on.

“I’m pretty sure he’ll have his own ambitions and want to play at the highest level. No disrespect to Leeds at all, but he will want to play in the Champions League at some point.

“He always looks happy playing for Leeds, but it’ll be interesting to see how the talks go. He could reject the contract and sign for a Champions League club.”

Raphinha has netted eight goals and assisted two more for Leeds United in the Premier League this term.

The five-time Brazil international’s current contract runs until the end of June 2024.

In other news, pundit predicts Leeds United signing Bamford ally after source’s update on bid for 21-year-old.