Why Raphinha is perfect for Manchester City

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If there is one team in the Premier League who are not in need of new players, it’s Manchester City. Already with many of the world’s best at their disposal, Guardiola has free range to rotate his squad as he pleases. But one Premier League star certainly stands out as being a perfect fit for the Citizens in the future, and one who could easily be their next Riyad Mahrez type. That man would be Brazilian wing wizard Raphinha, who’s starred for Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds since joining in October 2020. While a move for Raphinha wouldn’t be necessary to fix any gaping hole in their team, it would be a shrewd piece of business to improve their squad in the long-run.


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Raphinha is one of the silkiest dribblers in the Premier League, but one with an added goal threat. He possesses many of the same qualities as one of City’s older members – Riyad Mahrez, with exceptional dribbling, long-range shooting ability and a two-footedness that makes him very difficult to stop from the right wing. Guardiola likes for his wingers to hug the touchline and stay wide, where Raphinha often does his best work. The City manager also likes for his wingers to cut inside onto their stronger foot, which is something that Raphinha also does frequently for Leeds. Exceptional with both his right and left foot, the 25-year-old all 8 of his total goals with his left-foot this season. He’s also dribbled past 43 players this season, the third highest in the league.

Meanwhile, in Pep’s desire for versatility, the Leeds man makes for a more useful option than someone like Mahrez. Raphinha can play as an attacking midfielder, particularly alongside another number ten in a three-man midfield, and could easily fit into City’s midfield line as a robust, box to box midfielder.

The one problem for the 25-year-old in staking a claim to play for City – his pass completion rate is abysmal. City are obviously a side who like to keep possession of the ball, and the Brazilian’s 69% pass completion rate won’t cut it. Raphinha is fine making short passes, but he tries to pull off something elaborate far too much. Guardiola would need to improve Raphinha’s passing ability to get him to gel with the others, and help him learn when to make risky passes and play it forward, versus when to play it safe. That said, his defensive work rate is exceptional, he knows how and when to press, and he’s a quality goal-scorer that can add a bit of dynamism and flair when City need an extra cutting edge.

So while many people look at City and say they should sign a new striker. We think the top priority is actually to find a Riyad Mahrez replacement, with the Algerian being one of the few players in the squad now over the age of 30. Raphinha could be a brilliant replacement option for the next five years or so, and allow City to ease Cole Palmer into the team. As mentioned, the Brazilian could then also play in midfield, which would be excellent for City’s rotation policy.

With a current market value of just 40 million, City would get their money’s worth out of the hard-working Brazilian, and improve their squad in the process. With Leeds already struggling to reach the heights they achieved in 2020-21, Raphinha will likely be looking for a new challenge anyway. So we suggest City splash the cash on the wing wizard, and continue to use a false nine up front.

So there it is! Why Raphinha is a perfect fit for Manchester City. Be sure to check out more in this series below, and follow on social media @mastermindsite. Thanks for reading and see you soon!

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