Leeds United correspondent Phil Hay has been speaking about how Raphinha is yet to reach the heights Pablo Hernandez did at Elland Road.
Leeds managed to bring in the Brazilian winger during summer 2020 on deadline day for just £17 million and the winger has since confirmed in an interview with FourFourTwo that he only had 20 minutes to make a decision on whether or not to leave Rennes and move to the Premier League.
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The winger has since returned 10 goals and nine assists in the Premier League, so Leeds fans will be delighted that he made the decision to join them, although according to Hay, he is not yet up to the standard of Hernandez, who has been labelled as a legend by the club and helped the club win the Championship with his nine goals and nine assists in that campaign.
Speaking on The Phil Hay Show, the Athletic journalist heaped praise on Raphinha, but admits that he’s not yet at the same standard as that Hernandez was during his time with Leeds.
“Quite a few people have asked me if he is the best player Leeds have had since relegation and I think the answer to that is that technically, yes, I don’t think they’ve had a player who has more technical ability than him.
“He’s still not at the level of influence that somebody like Hernandez had, and is yet to deliver what Hernandez helped to deliver for the club.”
TIF Thoughts on Raphinha…
It appears to be quite a bold statement from Hay to say that someone who has seen Liverpool interested in him, according to his agent, and is the club’s top scorer in the Premier League is not on the same level as Hernandez, who only ever put up good numbers for Leeds in the Championship.
In this Leeds squad, Raphinha is in a world of his own when it comes to causing problems for opposing defenders as he’s attempted and completed more than double the number of dribbles than anyone else in the side (FBRef), and especially this season, he’s putting the team on his back when they’ve been struggling as he’s progressing the ball the most out of anyone else.
And while you can see where Hay is coming from, you could easily argue that Hernandez getting Leeds promoted meant that Raphinha walked into a team where the standards were raised significantly. Perhaps if he spent a season or two with Leeds in the Championship, he would be mentioned in the same breath as the Spaniard by the likes of Hay more often.