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A Bielsa masterstroke? – Leeds United have done the right thing by sending this Spanish starlet out on loan

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Leeds United will be hoping for Rafa Mujica to progress on his loan spell

According to Leeds Live, Leeds United have announced the departure of 20-year-old forward Rafa Mujica on a season-long loan deal to Spanish second-tier outfit Extremadura UD. 

The Spanish starlet made his move to Elland Road on a free transfer from Barcelona a couple of months back, initially linking up with Carlos Corberan’s U-23 development side in West Yorkshire. 

The talented youngster featured in Marcelo Bielsa’s senior team in the pre-season friendlies but Mujica is not going to make any further appearance for the Whites’ U-23 side, with the Spaniard choosing to continue his development back in his homeland. 

The 20-year-old, who has represented Spain at all youth levels from U-17 to U-19, started his career with his hometown club Las Palmas before joining Barcelona’s youth system back in 2015.

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Mujica scored 10 goals in 60 appearances for Barcelona’s reserve side in the second and third tiers of Spanish football, whilst also spending time on loan at Cornelia. 

Mujica won the 2017-18 UEFA Youth League with Barcelona and was also on the verge of breaking into the senior ranks at Camp Nou prior to his move to Elland Road. The 20-year-old arrived in West Yorkshire as a bright young prospect but the club hierarchy apparently believe that he is one for the future. 

Meanwhile, Leeds United have put all the disappointment of missing out on promotion behind them with a fantastic start to the 2019-20 Championship season. The Whites are currently atop the standings and unbeaten after four games heading into Saturday’s away fixture against Stoke City

Bielsa’s men have already shown strong signs of promise early in the campaign and the fans at Elland Road have every reason to hope that this could be their year as far as ending the long exile from the Premier League is concerned. 

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As opposed to some of the other promotion-chasing sides, Leeds didn’t really spend big in the transfer window this summer, with Bielsa opting to strengthen his ranks by acquiring the services of Ben White, Helder Costa, Jack Harrison and Eddie Nketiah on loan.

As well as the impact of the new arrivals, Bielsa has every reason to be happy with the performances of some of the pre-existing names in the ranks, particularly Patrick Bamford, who has shown strong signs of hitting the ground running with 3 goals in 4 games. 

Leeds needed someone to step up and fill in the void left by the departure of last season’s top-scorer Kemar Roofe, and the fans have every reason to be happy with performances of Nketiah and Bamford thus far. 

To put things into perspective, someone like Rafa Mujica could have been a useful back-up option at Elland Road but Leeds have probably done the right thing by shipping him out on loan, given his tender years and lack of experience in English football. 

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In all probability, the Spaniard has been brought in as a project player at the club and a successful loan spell elsewhere might pave the way for him to break into the first-team picture.

Looking at things from the player’s perspective, Mujica is still very much in his formative years as a player and he needs to play regularly to work on the flaws in his game. 

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One cannot help but feel that he is not yet the finished article who could make a big impression in the Championship and, with that in mind, a loan move looks justified from the point of view of all parties involved.