Football News

“This is a league of duels” – Leeds’ Raphinha replacement expected to make Luis Diaz-esque impact on the Premier League

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 14:21, 7 July 2022

Leeds United have completed the signing of Luis Sinisterra from Feyenoord for £21.4m, with the Colombian signing a five-year deal.

He subsequently becomes the sixth player to join Jesse Marsch’s squad this summer after Brenden Aaronson, Tyler Adams, Rasmus Kristensen, Marc Roca and Darko Gyabi thus bringing Leeds’ spending to over £90m. It’s also seen him fulfilling a dream and Sinisterra cannot wait to impress his new supporters.

“I am very happy to be here in this beautiful club, I am enjoying this time,” he told LUTV.

“I know it’s a historic club with beautiful fans. I heard a lot of things about the stadium and atmosphere, it’s amazing so I can’t wait to feel that in person. It was my dream when I was a child [to play in the Premier League], right now I am close to making that.”

“Of course I will work to bring this quality to Leeds,” he added.

“This is my feeling, that I want to do the same or even more for this team and for the fans. I think it is also one of my characteristics, to enjoy and make the fans happy with my skills, my quality and hopefully I can do that here at Elland Road.”

Marsch inherited a Leeds side on the brink of Premier League relegation in February 2022 but managed to steer them away from choppy waters. The former RB Leipzig boss will be seeking to establish the Yorkshiremen as a stable force regularly challenging for European places.

Sinisterra’s appointment can be seen as Leeds preparing for star winger Raphinha’s eventual departure. The talasmic Brazilian, who has netted 17 goals across 67 matches in all competitions, has been heavily linked with a move this summer. London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea were seemingly battling for his signature before Barcelona entered the picture. Raphinha is reportedly keen to join Xavi and company at the Camp Nou.

In the season just gone Sinisterra enjoyed his most prolific campaign for Feyenoord whom he joined from boyhood club Once Caldas in the summer of 2018, scoring 23 goals and creating 14 more across 49 matches in all competitions, his international teammate Davinson Sanchez feels it’s the perfect move and the Tottenham central defender is backing him to have a similar impact compatriot Luis Diaz is enjoying with Liverpool.

“Lucho (Sinisterra) has been doing very well. He played in a European tournament final (the UEFA Conference League). He’s earned his place in the Netherlands. He has qualities. He showed them in the national team,” he recently told reporters.

“If he has the chance to come (to Leeds), he will compete. And I think what he has in his favour is that this is a league of duels. He is very strong in duels and will be able to make a difference like Luis Diaz. If he comes, best of luck.”

As touched upon, Sinisterra was a big performer for Feyenoord last season, and following on from Sanchez’s words no Eredivisie player completed more take-ons than him (107) which proved to be 22 more than second-best Ragnar Oratmangoen. His pivotal role in the Rotterdammers reaching the inaugural UEFA Conference League final earned him the competition’s Young Player of the Season award. The sum Feyenoord received for his signature is a club record fee.

Feyenoord head coach Arne Slot earlier in the week admitted his club needed to make at least seven new signings following the departures of Tyrell Malacia (Manchester United) and Bryan Linssen (Urawa Reds) as well as Guus Til, Reiss Nelson and Cyriel Dessers all returning to their parent clubs after spending the season at De Kuip on loan. Til has since joined Eredivisie championship rivals PSV Eindhoven.

Sinisterra will officially become a Leeds player once he receives international clearance and his work permit. Leeds get their new Premier League campaign underway on August 6 when they host Wolverhampton Wanderers.