Noel Whelan has claimed it would be a “disaster” if Leeds United were to sell Raphinha this summer.
The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested fans would be left raging if the Whites chose to cash in on the 24-year-old after just a year at Elland Road.
Football Insider first broke the news of Liverpool’s interest in Raphinha on 6th February and a recruitment source has said they are continuing to scout him and have made background checks asking for information.
Manchester City join the race for Leeds United winger #Raphinha. Manchester United and Liverpool still interested in him, confirmed. Nothing decided yet cause #LUFC want to keep him. #MUFC #LFC #MCFC @tvdellosport
— Gianluigi Longari (@Glongari) April 30, 2021
Meanwhile, Italian journalist Gianluigi Longari claims Manchester City have joined Liverpool and Manchester United in the hunt for the Leeds ace.
Raphinha joined Leeds for a reported £17million plus add-ons last summer and has established himself as a firm favourite under Marcelo Bielsa.
Whelan insisted the Whites needed to build around the Brazilian rather than selling up this summer.
Whelan told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge: “In my opinion, there’s no deal to be done.
“We’re trying to catch up to Man City and build a team that’s going to compete. We’ve shown that we can do that against them this season with Raphinha in the side.
“If we’re really going to be considering selling one of our best assets, where does it leave us as a club? After one season having Raphinha on the books, I’m hoping that’s not what we are right now. We’re certainly trying to build something special at the club.
“We’re playing the right way and we’re going to add more quality in the summertime. So, if we’re going to sell players like that, I’m not sure where it’s going to leave the fans. They’re going to want to pay money to see players like that at Elland Road and they’ll be angry if not.
“Next season, fingers crossed, we’re having fans in there. He’s one of our star assets so we’ve got to be strong enough to fend off the big guns in Europe and in England. If we sell him, it’s a disaster for the club.”
Raphinha has scored six goals and contributed a further seven assists in 28 appearances so far.
He managed to set up Rodrigo for Leeds’ third goal in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Tottenham.