Man United and Raphinha could be a perfect match according to transfer simulation


Manchester United are reportedly interested in signing Raphinha from Leeds United this summer, with the Brazilian attracting interest from a number of top European clubs.

Raphinha will enter the final year of his contract with the Yorkshire club next season, but it has been reported that the winger could be available for a fee of around £25million this summer. The Brazilian has scored nine goals and registered three assists in what has been a poor season for Leeds, with the club locked in a relegation scrap for survival at the bottom of the table.

United could see the likes of Anthony Martial, Edinson Cavani and even Marcus Rashford leave the club this summer on permanent deals. And, with a new manager also expected to arrive at the club, the Reds are rumored to be interested in bringing Raphinha to Old Trafford, which would strengthen their attacking options for next season.

READ MORE: Rio Ferdinand makes Raphinha transfer prediction amid Manchester United links

So, if Raphinha was to make the move to United in the summer, what sort of impact could he have at Old Trafford? Could the Brazilian winger help United win a trophy next season and close the gap to Manchester City and Liverpool? We simulated the 2022/23 season with Raphinha in United’s squad and this is what happened.

We ‘signed’ Raphinha for Man United in summer transfer windows

To set up this simulation, we used the Football Manager 2022 editor to arrange for Raphinha to join United and Ten Hag to become United manager at the start of the 2022/23 season, using FM22 to run the simulation. This is what Raphinha’s in-game profile looks like on FM22.

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Raphinha's in-game profile on Football Manager 2022.
Raphinha’s in-game profile on Football Manager 2022.

Raphinha can play on either flank and looks to get into the opposition area, as well as often trying long-distance shots. The 25-year-old’s standout attributes are his Dribbling (16), First Touch (16), Technique (17), Flair (17), Acceleration (16) and Agility (16), whilst also having good Pace (15), Composure (15) and Work Rate (14) for a winger.

In our simulation, Raphinha had a stunning debut season under Ten Hag at United, scoring 23 goals and registering six assists in 47 appearances.

Raphinha's statistics for Man United in the 2022/23 season.
Raphinha’s statistics for Man United in the 2022/23 season.

With 10 Man of the Match awards, the Brazilian averaged a match rating of 7.50 in all competitions, the best in the United squad, highlighting his impressive and consistent performances after signing in the summer transfer window. To highlight just how good he was for the Reds, Raphinha was just one goal and one assist shy of matching Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal contribution tally for the season.

The 25-year-old showed his ability to beat players, averaging 2.24 successful dribbles per 90 minutes, more than any other United player. Raphinha also showed brilliant work rate and defensive awareness, averaging 1.12 successful tackles per 90 minutes, the second-highest out of any attacker at the club.

One of the most improved players under Ten Hag was Donny van de Beek who recorded 20 assists in Ten Hag’s first season at Old Trafford as the Dutchman found his form again under his previous manager at Ajax. Bruno Fernandes had a brilliant season in the number 10 role, scoring 18 goals and registering 11 assists, matching Raphinha’s goal contribution tally of 29.

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At the end of the 2022/23 season, Football Manager 2022 put together an overall best Manchester United XI, based on performances, statistics and other metrics. This is what the United best XI looked like at the end of the 2022/23 season as predicted by Football Manager 2022.

Man United's best XI in the 2022/23 season.
Man United’s best XI in the 2022/23 season.

Full United best XI (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Shaw; Van de Beek, McTominay; Raphinha, Fernandes, Sancho; Ronaldo.

Raphinha was a key player under Ten Hag and became integral to his tactical system, pushing Marcus Rashford to the substitutes bench. Donny van de Beek started alongside Scott McTominay in central midfield, with Fred also dropping to the bench.

So, how did United get on in the Premier League and cup competitions? Let’s take a look.

Manchester United’s performance in all competitions

United had a strong season with Raphinha in the squad, finishing second in the Premier League and qualifying for the Champions League, but finished 24 points behind champions and centurions Man City. The Reds were involved in one of the tightest top four races, with second and fifth separated by just three points.

United finished second in the Premier League.
United finished second in the Premier League.

Ten Hag’s side finished the season with the second-highest goal difference (+39) and second-best defensive record in the league with just six losses. United struggled to keep pace with City as they failed to maintain their leads in games, resulting in a number of draws. The gap to City could also be explained by the fact that United’s rivals signed Erling Haaland.

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United faced their fierce rivals Man City in both domestic cup competitions, being defeated 2-1 on both occasions. In both games, United took the lead but were unable to hold onto their lead as City came back in the Carabao Cup final and FA Cup fourth round.

Man United's performances in the cup competitions.
Man United’s performances in the cup competitions.

In the Champions League, United were knocked out in the Round of 16 after losing 2-1 on aggregate to Barcelona. Former Reds’ attacker Memphis Depay scored the decisive goal in the first leg as Ten Hag’s side crashed out of the competition.

Overall, this Football Manager simulation predicts that if United were to sign Raphinha ahead of the 2022/23 season, the Brazilian could make the step up and become an elite attacker, being one the Reds’ most consistent and key performers, scoring 23 goals and registering six assists in his debut season. The 25-year-old showed his attacking and defensive qualities, as well as stepping up in the big games, shown by his opener against City in the Carabao Cup final.

This simulation also predicts that Raphinha and Ten Hag’s arrival could improve United’s overall points tally in the Premier League, but they could need to strengthen their defense if they are to bridge the gap to Manchester City next season.

Would you like to see Raphinha sign for Manchester United? Let us know in the comments!

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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