How Newcastle missed out on potential huge transfer windfall as Liverpool eye Leeds star

Leeds United star Raphinha continues to light up the Premier League – but it could have so easily been in Newcastle United's colours.

Raphinha of Leeds United celebrates with team mate Rodrigo after scoring their side's first goal against Newcastle United in January.

The Brazilian has produced a series of top-drawer performances for the Whites to help them establish themselves as a top-flight force in their first season back.

Raphinha was one of the stars of the show for Leeds again at the weekend as the 10 men produced an astonishing performance to beat champions-elect Manchester City 2-1.

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Only goalkeeper Ederson’s excellence denied 24-year-old Raphinha what would have been a seventh goal of the season as part of a stellar first campaign in English football that has also seen the £17m recruit from Rennes bag six assists.

Raphinha scores Leeds United's first goal during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Leeds United at St. James Park.

City boss Guardiola was asked about Raphinha at his post-match press conference and admitted Leeds had a gem of a player on their hands.

"Of course he's a weapon, an exceptional player with good pace," said the City boss. He played a good game."

The £17million fee paid by Marcelo Bielsa could prove to be a snip, but for Newcastle it is a case of one who got away.

Two years ago, during the January 2019 transfer window, Raphinha was offered to the Magpies – who had scouted the player on several occasions – for around just £12.5million.

At the time though, Newcastle were committed to signing another left-footed attacker in Miguel Almiron, eventually paying £19million for the Paraguayan which was a record transfer fee at the time.

That didn't stop them considering bringing in Raphinha on loan with an option to buy in the summer. That deal never went through, and Raphinha stayed at Sporting CP until the summer, when Rennes brought him to France in a club record £18million deal after four goals and three assists in eight games in Portugal saw his price rocket.

In his year in France, Raphinha helped Rennes to a third-placed finish in Ligue 1, and subsequent Champions League qualification, as he established himself as a player capable of goals and assists.

After a long hunt, Leeds got their man on deadline day back in October and he's already looking like he could be one of the Premier League's bargain buys.

There could be a host of clubs trying to sign him this summer, with his valuation having soared to around £50million, though the player insists he is happy at Elland Road despite speculation linking him with the likes of Liverpool and City.