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Manchester United midfielder Fred looks to have fuelled transfer rumours by telling the club’s official website that he recently ‘met’ up with Leeds playmaker Raphinha, a transfer target for the Red Devils.

United face their historic rivals in their first meeting at Elland Road in 18 years on Sunday, with Marcelo Bielsa sharing that live-wire Raphinha is a doubt as he hasn’t ‘recovered sufficiently’ from a knock yet.

Fred admitted that Red Devils superstar Bruno Fernandes has been ‘talking’ about his former teammate ever since he arrived at Leeds last summer in a deal worth up to €22m, per UOL.

The aforementioned Brazilian outlet also report that Fernandes and Raphinha are ‘best friends’, striking quite the relationship during their one season together at Portuguese giants Sporting.

United’s official site reiterates that Fernandes wishes to face-off against his pal this weekend, but the injury concern may well stop that from happening.

UOL reported not too long ago that the Red Devils have actually already lodged an enquiry for Raphinha, who has enjoyed wonderful debut season with the Peacocks.

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Raphinha has shone for Leeds United this season

Here is what the Red Devils midfielder had to say on his compatriot and Bruno’s good friend:

“Bruno’s been talking about Raphinha ever since he arrived. They played together at Sporting,”

“He’s a great player having an amazing season and a lot of clubs have their eye on him. I met him recently, great guy, excellent player but… I hope he won’t be lining up against us! [laughs]”

“I wish him a quick recovery and a lot of success in his career. He’s a standout star player for Leeds so, of course, it’s better for us if he’s not on the pitch.”

“If he does play, we’ll look to mark him carefully and work on our game-plan as best as possible. We’ll try to nullify his threat to come out on top in this game.”

Raphinha has contributed six goals and six assists in 26 Premier League appearances to date, with the Brazilian seeing most of his action as a right-sided playmaker, though he can also play on the left.

The 24-year-old’s track record suggests he would settle seamlessly at Old Trafford, having bounced between Avai, Vitoria Guimaraes, Sporting and Rennes in a short period – and still showing his talent.

The fact that Raphinha holds a close relationship with Fernandes and now a budding one with compatriot Fred will also excite United fans, though Leeds will not be looking to let go anytime soon.

Should the Red Devils look to put their contacts to use as soon as possible to recruit Raphinha or should they strengthen in other positions first? The latter could invite other clubs to swoop however.