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Transfer news: Raphinha to Liverpool

Leeds punish Tomas Soucek for a sloppy turnover, passing through West Ham's defense and setting up Raphinha for the finishing touch to draw first blood.

The latest transfer news focuses on Leeds and Brazil winger Raphinha, as Liverpool want to sign the rising star.

Well, that’s according to his agent.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

Raphinha, 24, has had a sensational first 12 months in the Premier League after he joined Leeds from Rennes in the summer of 2020 for $23.2 million.

He is now probably worth treble that transfer fee, as he’s started the 2021-22 season with three goals in his first seven Premier League games to go along with his six goals and nine assists last season.

And now his agent -- former Porto, Barcelona and Portugal superstar Deco -- has told Globo Esporte in Brazil that Liverpool want to sign Raphinha and that he is destined for a move in the future.

What is being said?

“Raphinha became an important player in the Premier League, the club knows he has grown and things will happen naturally,” Deco said. “He is young, he has many challenges ahead, there are certainly several clubs that like him, and Liverpool do like him, there were approaches, but nothing official. Leeds wanted to keep him for another season.”

“Raphinha has a market, and Leeds have high expectations, it was never a project in a hurry,” Deco added. “He has ambitions to play at a higher level despite Leeds being in the Premier League. But this is not the time and his focus, things will happen naturally. Raphinha is happy at Leeds and for sure the time will come to take the biggest leap in his career, to take a step forward.

“He has a three-year contract, but it’s not the contract that defines the length of stay or prevents a transfer. Leeds are aware, they’ll want to make an important sale, and Raphinha will end up growing in his career.”

Would Raphinha be a good fit for Liverpool?

This seems like a very, very good fit.

Raphinha would cost Liverpool a tidy chunk of cash if he did arrive next summer, but the Reds have always added quality over quantity in the transfer market.

With his fellow Brazil internationals Alisson, Roberto Firmino and Fabinho also at Liverpool (the latter has been talking about Raphinha hopefully joining him at Anfield soon) this all makes a lot of sense.

His quality on the ball, direct running, high-pressing and penchant for the spectacular also slots in very well with Klopp’s philosophy. If you had to pick one Premier League winger who is the perfect understudy to Mohamed Salah, it is Raphinha.

How likely is this to happen?

These links with Raphinha may make Liverpool fans a little nervous that Salah may not sign a new contract, but this is more about planning for the future.

Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino can’t go on forever.

As for Leeds, this kind of talk from Raphinha’s agent is more than a little concerning. It does seem like there’s an understanding that if a Champions League level club comes in for Raphinha, he will be allowed to leave.

But given that he was linked with a move away this summer and ended up staying, Leeds will be happy to see his value rise this season and they know that the Brazilian winger will be a great financial investment if he does end up leaving next summer.

Follow @JPW_NBCSports