Of all the new faces Leeds United brought in during the summer, it is surely fair to say that only Rodrigo has made a more promising start to life in the Whites first-team than Raphinha.
The winger has looked incredibly bright so far. And he was rewarded for the promise he has shown with his first start at the weekend.
Interestingly however, it would appear that Marcelo Bielsa had one reservation about signing the 23-year-old when the suggestion was made to him in the final stages of the window.
According to The Athletic, Bielsa gave some thought as to what Raphinha’s potential arrival would mean for Ian Poveda’s development.
It is noted by The Athletic that the Brazilian had already been on Bielsa’s radar before he was suggested by Victor Orta as a target. So it is no surprise that Leeds chose to pay Rennes £17 million to bring him to Elland Road.
And the early signs certainly suggest that Bielsa is very pleased to have Raphinha in his squad.
But it is also arguably a big statement about Poveda’s potential that Bielsa was wary of his progress stagnating when the opportunity to bring in another marquee name presented itself.
Poveda still getting chances following Raphinha’s arrival
It has been an interesting start to life at Leeds for the 20-year-old. He actually had to wait several months for his debut following his arrival in January.
But he impressed in the final stages of last season. And he has continued to be a part of Bielsa’s plans following promotion to the Premier League.
There have been flashes of his potential. He was particularly impressive when he came off the bench at Sheffield United in September.
But Poveda is clearly still perfecting his game. So it arguably sends out a big message that Bielsa gave his development some thought as Leeds weighed up signing Raphinha.
Raphinha is obviously a player already capable of stealing the headlines. But Bielsa seemingly feels that Poveda has the talent to reach a similar level at some stage in the future.