Raphinha joins Leeds in £17m transfer from Rennes and says Premier League move is a 'dream come true'

Raphinha - RennesGetty Images

Leeds United have announced the signing of Brazilian winger Raphinha from Rennes for a reported fee of £17 million ($22m).

The 23-year-old has put pen to paper on a four-year contract with the Whites, bringing to an end his one-year spell in Ligue 1.

Marcelo Bielsa had already been able to add Rodrigo Moreno, Diego Llorente, Robin Koch, Illan Meslier and Joe Gelhardt to his ranks in the transfer window, and topped off a summer of impressive business by tying up a deal for Raphinha on deadline day.

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The ex-Rennes star has been handed the No.18 jersey at Leeds, and could be in line to make his debut away at Wolves on October 19.

Raphinha arrived at Rennes for £21m ($27m) from Sporting CP in the summer of 2019, and managed to provide eight goals and seven assists in his first 36 outings for Julien Stephan's side.

His performances helped Rennes qualify for the Champions League for the first time in their history, but he has now opted to take on a new challenge in the Premier League.

Raphinha expressed his delight after being officially unveiled at Elland Road on Monday, telling Leeds' official website: “I feel really satisfied and happy with the opportunity and trust the club has shown in me.

“I believe I can show my game and show the club my work and why they believed in me.

“I’m really happy to be here and I hope to, even in a small part, write my name in the club’s history.

“Together with my happiness, the happiness of the fans with my signing and the directors, I think we can all be happy together.

“It made me really happy the club were interested in my football and my work and I believe like any other player, you immediately want to come and play in the Premier League, the best league in the world.

“I’ve always wanted to play in the Premier League, I dreamed of playing in this championship where all the best players play, so it is a dream come true to be here in the Premier League.

“Before I came here I’d spoken to other players about Marcelo Bielsa and they told me he is a really demanding coach, which is something I like.

“I like working with demanding coaches who can really get the best out of me, so it is an absolute pleasure to be here and getting to work with him."

Raphinha also revealed that Leeds' performance during a 1-1 draw with Manchester City on Saturday helped him decide to join Bielsa's ranks, with it his desire to play in a system which allows him to express himself freely.

“I watched Leeds play against Liverpool and Manchester City and I was enchanted with the style of play," he added.

"It’s a team which always plays on the front foot, attacking football looking for goals and chasing the victory.

“It’s a really good team with very high quality and it had a big influence on my decision.

“I’m the type of player who looks to bring joy onto the field, I like to have fun on the pitch, the fans can expect a happy player who gives his all and battles until the very end to seek a positive result.”