Premier League • England

Chelsea identify Barcelona star as vital to summer rebuild, with Boehly ‘not afraid’ to splash cash

Gavi, Raphinha, Barcelona, January 2023

Chelsea have reportedly ‘not forgotten’ about Barcelona winger Raphinha, as Todd Boehly understands he ‘can be an important player’ for the Blues.

The Blues have spent more than £500million since Boehly became chairman. That’s seen a massive influx of 16 players during the two transfer windows he’s had control of the club.

Big names such as Raheem Sterling and Enzo Fernandez have walked through the door.

As yet, things have not panned out as Boehly might have expected. The Blues are onto their third manager this season – Frank Lampard is only temporary – and are 11th in the Premier League.

If the last two windows are anything to go by, the chairman’s solution to this will be to spend.

Indeed, the Blues have been linked with a number of talented players of late. It would not be a surprise if Boehly was keen on taking some more fresh faces on board at Stamford Bridge.

It appears he remains a fan of a previous target, and could try to land him.

Sport reports Barcelona winger Raphinha, who Chelsea courted before his move to La Liga, is on their radar.

Boehly thinks Raphinha can be ‘important player’

Indeed, the Blues apparently had a bid accepted by Leeds United for the star winger in the summer. However, Barcelona’s offer was clearly more to their liking, as the Chelsea deal was scrapped and Raphinha headed for Camp Nou.

Sport suggests the Premier League side have ‘not forgotten about’ the forward.

Indeed, they’ve apparently ‘already expressed their interest’ in signing him this summer. While he’s not been a world beater this season, he’s certainly adapted well to his move to Barca.

Raphinha has scored nine goals and provided seven assists in all competitions. It’s little wonder, then, that Chelsea chairman Boehly thinks he ‘can be an important player’ for the Blues.

He’s not shy of spending large sums, so there’s a good chance his club can give the signing a good shot.

Barca stubborn despite need to sell

Raphinha’s agent, Deco, is reportedly ‘aware of Chelsea’s interest’. However, he maintains that Raphinha will remain at Barcelona ‘unless the club decides otherwise’.

It seems there is a scenario that could see that happen. Indeed, Sport suggests Barca ‘will be forced to sell players to balance the books’ and due to that, Raphinha ‘could end up being an emergency solution’.

He’s not top of the list of players the Spanish side are looking to sell, though.

They will apparently listen to offers for Ferran Torres and Ansu Fati, but the pair ‘are reluctant to leave and the offers that could come in would be less than’ for Raphinha.

As such, if Barcelona can’t raise the €150million (approx £132million) the report says they would need to in order to sign new players, the star might then be up for grabs.

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