Leeds United striker Rafa Mujica is flying after joining Villarreal B on loan during the January transfer window.
The 21-year-old has scored four goals in his first five appearances for the club. It is a remarkable return from a player who failed to score during his time with Extremadura in the first-half of the season.
Admittedly, it should be noted that Mujica has dropped down a level and is now playing in Spain’s third tier. But it is an exciting run of form for a player who was given an opportunity by Marcelo Bielsa in pre-season.
He is arguably going to need to continue this sort of form during the remaining months of the campaign to really catch Bielsa’s eye. But there is no question that it is a very positive start.
And perhaps it may give Mujica an outside chance of doing something that no other Leeds player has achieved since Bielsa was appointed at Elland Road.
Leeds have loaned out 27 different players during Bielsa’s tenure. And remarkably, not one single player has made a competitive appearance under Bielsa after returning from a loan spell.
A loan move appears to be a hint that Bielsa may not see much of a future for that particular player while he is in charge.
Indeed, many have since left the club on a permanent basis, while some seem to have had more loan clubs than they have appearances for Leeds.
Mujica’s position looks better than any other Leeds loanee, but long, long way to go
Mujica is arguably facing a big fight to prove that he has not been written off by Bielsa, particularly after doing little during the first-half of the season.
But the more recent signs have been extremely positive. And should his form continue, it may not be a surprise to see him receive some opportunities with the under-23s upon his return – if he is kept.
And from there, there is clearly an outside chance to catch the eye.
He has shown that he knows how to find the back of the net. And having previously been attached to Barcelona, he clearly has some potential.
He looks to be some way off a first-team chance at Elland Road. And in truth, the smart money would still suggest that that first-team debut for Leeds may never come.
But having scored four in five since leaving in January, perhaps it would be fair to say that no loanee on the club’s books is in a better position to end the run.