A Leeds United decision may ensure Chelsea land their man after a trusted source detailed Barcelona’s attempts to hijack their Raphinha transfer.
The Brazilian, 25, is quickly becoming one of the transfer stories of the summer. Tottenham, Arsenal and Chelsea all chased the Leeds ace. From LaLiga, long-time admirers Barcelona have never been far from the conversation.
Arsenal’s strategy of offering below Leeds’ valuation and working their way up appeared to have backfired.
That came after Chelsea reportedly agreed to meet Leeds’ financial demands, per Fabrizio Romano. The trusted source claimed the Blues agreed a deal worth an initial £60m, potentially rising to £65m through add-ons.
However, the player would reportedly prefer a move to Barcelona if choosing between the two. And while an agreement over personal terms remains in the air, the possibility of a transfer hijack cannot be discounted.
Yet even their improved terms still did not match Leeds’ valuation or Chelsea’s bid. As such, Romano claimed the Whites fully intend to honour the agreement they struck with Chelsea.
For the deal to cross the line, Raphinha must agree to the move. In lieu of the claims the winger is holding out for Barcelona, Romano insisted it’s ‘still open on the player’s side’.
In a follow-up tweet, the transfer guru added Leeds have ‘no intention’ of accepting the latest Barca bid. Clearly, the Leeds hierarchy are prepared to sell to another English side if it means they’ll bank a larger sum.
Where will Raphinha end up?
The answer to that question could rest entirely on how strongly Raphinha feels about playing for Barcelona.
A move to Stamford Bridge would come with a pay rise – reportedly to £118,000-a-week. It would also give him the opportunity to play in the Champions League and challenge for trophies.
Yet the tale of South American players having their heart set on moves to either Barcelona or Real Madrid is a familiar one.
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If Barcelona – who are still struggling financially – are unable to match Chelsea’s bid, Leeds will prioritise a sale to Chelsea.
The Times reported Barcelona could be ready to bid around £60m for the Brazilian. If they do, Leeds will have a decision to make, but until a bid of that size comes, Chelsea are fronting the queue.
The Whites are poised to lose their two best players this summer in Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips. As such, they need to recoup as high of a fee as they can to ensure Jesse Marsch can sign suitable replacements.
The signs, despite Barca’s late play, still look good for Chelsea.