Leeds United and Sheffield United want one more each after Whites land Raphinha

Leeds United completed their search for a winger by signing 23-year-old Brazilian Raphinha from Rennes on the evening of international transfer deadline day.
Raphinha in action for Rennes (Picture: Getty Images)Raphinha in action for Rennes (Picture: Getty Images)
Raphinha in action for Rennes (Picture: Getty Images)

Both they and Sheffield United still have one more position they would like to fill but with Football League signings still possible until a week on Friday, they could yet do so before trading for 2020 comes to an end.

Leeds have been looking for an attacking midfielder to provide cover for 35-year-old Pablo Hernandez, and Jack O’Connell’s knee surgery has left the Blades short of an overlapping central defender. The Whites could still turn to Norwich City’s Todd Cantwell, whilst left-sided centre-backs Terence Kongolo of Huddersfield Town and Ben Davies of Preston North End are still available for the Blades.

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But with an 11pm deadline last night to complete transfers from overseas, Leeds’s sporting director Victor Orta was able to finalise a deal for in-form Raphinha, who signed a four-year contract.

Rennes' Brazilian forward Raphinha celebrates after scoring during the French Ligue 1 football match between Stade Rennais and F.C. Nantes (Picture: DAMIEN MEYER/AFP via Getty Images)Rennes' Brazilian forward Raphinha celebrates after scoring during the French Ligue 1 football match between Stade Rennais and F.C. Nantes (Picture: DAMIEN MEYER/AFP via Getty Images)
Rennes' Brazilian forward Raphinha celebrates after scoring during the French Ligue 1 football match between Stade Rennais and F.C. Nantes (Picture: DAMIEN MEYER/AFP via Getty Images)

The undisclosed fee is thought to be around £15.5m up front, with a further £5.5m in add-ons.

Rennes, who have qualified for this season’s Champions League, paid Sporting Lisbon £18m for Raphinha a little over 12 months ago. He has started the season in good form, with two assists and a goal in six matches.

He has Europa League experience with previous clubs Vitoria and Sporting CP, as well as Rennes.

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He has mainly been used as a right winger but can also play on the left, and at centre-forward.

Raphinha has arrived at Leeds United (Picture: LUFC)Raphinha has arrived at Leeds United (Picture: LUFC)
Raphinha has arrived at Leeds United (Picture: LUFC)

He will compete for a place with Jack Harrison, Helder Costa, Ian Poveda and Ezgjan Alioski, although the latter could also be needed to provide cover at left-back.

The Whites’ only specialist in the position, Barry Douglas, is said to be interesting Watford. Deals between Football League and Premier League clubs are possible until 5pm on October 16. The versatile Stuart Dallas is coach Marcelo Bielsa’s first choice in the position.

Leeds are understood to have explored the possibility of signing Manchester United’s Daniel James – who they came extremely close to signing in January 2019 – but the Red Devils’ failure to sign summer-long target Jadon Sancho made belatedly bringing the Wales international to West Yorkshire more difficult.

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Earlier in the window Leeds bought striker Rodrigo and centre-backs Robin Koch and Diego Llorente, plus a slew of teenagers viewed as long-term signings.

The Whites had an obligation to buy Jean-Kevin Augustin from RB Leipzig but after an underwhelming half-season loan which saw him play just 48 minutes in three goalless substitute appearances, they cooled on the idea and decided against extending the loan into the final weeks of their drawn-out promotion campaign.

The 23-year-old was said to have agreed a two-year contract with Nantes, allowing Leeds to duck out of bringing him back to the club, although it was reported they had not paid a fee.

Last week Leeds had been expected to sign Bayern Munich’s Michael Cuisance to provide extra attacking creativity but a deal collapsed last Thursday amid reports of a failed medical.

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Spanish side UD Logrones, meanwhile, last night confirmed they have signed Leeds’s 19-year-old Polish midfielder Mateusz Bogusz on a season-long loan.

Cantwell has not been involved in Norwich’s last two matches with coach Daniel Farke criticising his attitude in training. The 22-year-old impressed in his debut Premier League season, scoring seven goals in 40 appearances in all competitions.

Despite the agent of Sampdoria’s Omar Colley claiming Sheffield United had shown an interest in his client, the Blades were unable to make an eighth signing of the window yesterday.

Manager Chris Wilder revealed last week the Blades have enquired about Kongolo, who has not played since breaking his foot on loan at Fulham in January.

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Then-Huddersfield manager Danny Cowley froze the defender out in November, but he was injured on his Cottagers debut. Scott Parker is also thought to be keen to sign the Swiss-born Netherlands defender who is not part of the plans of Cowley’s successor Carlos Corberan.

The Terriers are believed to want around £8m for 26-year-old Kongolo, whilst Davies, who is out of contract at the end of the season, is valued at £10m by Preston.

Having joined the Blades for a club record fee from Liverpool on Friday, forward Rhian Brewster has pulled out of England’s under-21 squad so he can build up his fitness ahead of a probable debut against Fulham a week on Saturday. Brewster did not join in time to play at Arsenal on Sunday, where his new side went down 2-1.

Meanwhile, Leeds chief executive Angus Kinnear has dismissed talk that Orta, who oversees their transfer business, will leave amidst reported interest from Roma.

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“Victor’s been a massive part of our success and we’re not letting him go,” he said.

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