Chelsea will learn later on Thursday if their efforts to sign Raphinha are successful, with details of the wages on offer to the Brazilian at Stamford Bridge now coming to light.
The Leeds United winger has found himself in high demand this summer after shining at Elland Road. His efforts last season saw him score 11 goals and lay on three assists and, without him, the Whites would surely have gone down. However, it seems his time in a Leeds shirt is now drawing to a conclusion.
Signing from Rennes for £17m in October 2020, Leeds look likely to triple their initial outlay. And while his incredible talents will be missed, Leeds will hope to reinvest that money and help the club grow.
But where Raphinha ends up still remains something of a mystery. The Brazil star has made clear his wish to sign for Barcelona, with his agent Deco agreeing personal terms with them some months ago.
However, Leeds’ asking price – together with Barcelona’s financial issues – means negotiating a deal with the LaLiga giants has proven tough.
The Whites value Raphinha at the £65m mark – a fee Barcelona are struggling to match.
Their hesitancy has allowed his Premier League suitors to nip in. Arsenal were the first to make their move, though their opening bid was swiftly rejected.
And as they were considering their next move, it was left for Chelsea to nip in and agree a deal with Leeds. That is reportedly worth ‘north of £55m’, with add-ons likely taking the payment to the £65m mark.
However, despite being in the driving seat to sign Raphinha, Barcelona still lurk menacingly in the background.
Raphinha still wants Barcelona first and foremost
The winger has reportedly instructed his agent to see one more time if a move to the Nou Camp can materialise. The LaLiga giants remain his No 1 choice. As such, he will reportedly delay on a move to Chelsea if there is any indication they could come calling.
As such, Deco was spotted outside the Nou Camp with club chiefs Rafa Yuste, Mateu Alemany, Enric Masip and president Joan Laporta. And the Daily Telegraph reports that a transfer hijack from Barcelona remains a possibility.
Before then, Deco will meet with Chelsea to listen to their proposals for the winger.
Having quickly struck a fee with Leeds, they remain extremely serious about bringing Raphinha in.
Furthermore, new owner Todd Boehly – who is covering as an interim sporting director – will sit down with Deco on Thursday for talks.
The Blues are reportedly offering Raphinha £118,000 a week over a five-year deal. And Boehly will push Deco for an answer today as he looks to tie up the deal.
However, Chelsea do still face a battle to land the winger and nothing looks certain yet.
As per Brazilian outlet UOL Esporte, Raphinha could reject Chelsea if there is any indication Barcelona could resurrect their interest.
The Catalan club hope to boost their finances by selling off a percentage of their TV rights. Furthermore, the impending sale of Frenkie de Jong to Manchester United could yet raise their hopes.
Situation no good for Leeds
The Raphinha situation is certainly doing Leeds United no favours. They will be eager to ensure a decision is arrived at quickly so to press ahead with their own transfer plans.
The Whites are reportedly chasing Cody Gakpo and Charles De Ketelaere. That said, neither deal may be possible should Raphinha reject Chelsea.
Gakpo is the sort of player who could comfortably fill Raphinha’s sizeable shoes given his Eredivisie record.
Raphinha race is still on with Chelsea amongst the favourites
Leeds United still in talks with Barcelona for Raphinha deal but Chelsea lead the race amongst Premier League clubs
And reports suggest the Netherlands winger is willing to move to Elland Road as a career stepping stone.
Either way, Leeds will hope for a resolution soon. Indeed, there remains a small possibility Raphinha will reject Chelsea in favour of holding out for Barcelona in 2023.