Chelsea are in a mad rush to secure the Raphinha transfer, with the Blues scheduling in talks with his agent on Wednesday and amid claims of a fresh approach from Arsenal.
The Brazilian winger’s future appears to be close to a resolution after months of speculation. As the main man for Leeds, he has lit up the Premier League ever since signing for a bargain £17m from Rennes in 2020. Indeed, he has scored 17 goals and weighed in with 12 assists, meaning he has a goal contribution every 2.3 games for Leeds.
That form has, predictably, led to a flurry of interest in his services. With two years left on his deal, Leeds recognise that now is the best time to maximise his value. Furthermore, the 25-year-old has made clear his wish to play in the Champions League.
As a result, transfer rumours involving Barcelona have done the round for most of the year. Ultimately, their lack of funds, together with prioritising other positions, has seen their efforts to sign him stall.
That allowed Arsenal to nip in initially, seeing one bid rejected and then scheduling in a second round of talks with Leeds.
Ultimately, though, it is Chelsea who have agreed a deal with Leeds. As such, they are reportedly paying a minimum £60m, with a further bonus taking the deal closer to £65m.
That has come as a blow to the Gunners, who were seemingly looking to talk Leeds into a discount on his fee.
However, Chelsea’s decisiveness has seen them strike first, with only personal terms and a medical standing in the player’s way.
Boehly to hold talks with Raphinha transfer talks today
Indeed, those talks are expected to be held on Wednesday, with Raphinha’s agent Deco holding talks with Todd Boehly. The new Chelsea owner is temporarily working as an interim sporting director until a permanent appointment is made.
Nonetheless, he seems to recognise the importance of delivering signings quickly. As such, he hopes to wrap up a full agreement for Raphinha later in the day.
News of Boehly’s urgency is doubly important given claims in the Daily Express that Arsenal are yet to concede defeat. Indeed, they suggest the Gunners may yet match Chelsea’s offer in the hope of beating the Blues to his signature.
That said, Raphinha was reportedly luke warm about their interest anyway, with a report detailing his transfer preferences this summer.
As such, the Blues are not likely to encounter too many issues in securing the signing of the Brazilian. He is likely to sign a four-year deal with the Blues, more than doubling the wages he was on at Leeds.
Chelsea ready to follow up and sign Raheem Sterling
Chelsea are still also intending to sign Raheem Sterling from Manchester City with a £50m move in the pipeline.
The planned move to land Sterling came into question once news of their Raphinha agreement broke.
However, The Sun reports Thomas Tuchel has his heart set on recruiting two wingers this summer.
That will see the Blues push through with a £105m double deal for the pair, giving the German coach a wealth of options up front.
Indeed, if all goes to plan, Tuchel will pick a front three next season from Raphinha, Sterling, Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz.
Chelsea close to Raphinha and Sterling deals
Chelsea and Leeds have agreed a fee for Raphinha and once personal terms are agreed it’s a done deal
While there is not an obvious No 9 in that mix, Tuche’s system appears perfectly set up to manage without a recognised striker with a fluid unit all capable of notching.
With Romelu Lukaku likely to finalise his return to Inter Milan on Wednesday, the Blues will soon be without their record signing.