Raphinha has spoken of his “dream come true” as he prepares to finalise his long-awaited transfer from Leeds United to Barcelona on Thursday.
The saga has dominated many of the headlines this summer after two years of lighting up the Premier League at Leeds. Indeed, the £17m fee they paid Rennes for him back in 2020 looks like some of the best business the club has done. During his time at Elland Road, Raphinha averaged a goal involvement every 2.2 games – a tally that includes 17 goals and 12 assists.
Agreeing a deal with Barcelona though has been anything but easy. Weeks of negotiations threatened to be derailed by first Arsenal and then, more significantly, Chelsea reaching an agreement with Leeds.
But Raphinha’s wish to only sign for Barcelona was very quickly apparent – though that was only possible after his agent Deco stepped in with an ultimatum to the Blaugrana.
Ultimately it is no surprise to see see Raphinha get his wish. Barca will pay Leeds an initial £49m, with add-ons taking the fee to £57m. And with the two clubs finally confirming their agreement, it was left to Jesse Marsch to explain why Leeds had to sanction his exit.
Raphinha will sign a five-year deal worth around £101,000 a week at the Nou Camp.
While the saga over the transfer has left a sour taste, the player leaves Leeds United with everyone’s best wishes.
Raphinha reveals Barcelona transfer delight
And with the transfer likely to become official on Thursday, Raphinha has spoken of his delight at the move and how, once they came calling, it was a move he simply had to make.
Speaking to BarcaTV, Raphinha said: “This is a dream come true for me, not just for me also my friends and family.
“They’ve seen me playing since I was a kid. They knew this was a dream of mine to come here. All I can do now is give my best and try to help Barca be what it’s always been.”
He added: “What I can say about myself is that I’m very excited to win. I like to win, any time I lose it’s very difficult to accept.
“So, you can expect a player who will always be fighting, always try to win, in training sessions as well. I will fight to become a better player.
“For me it’s a tremendous honour. I saw Ronaldinho come here and achieve so much and after that Neymar as well. For me as a Brazilian to come here it’s an honor. I hope to reach the same objectives that those two players achieved.”
Barcelona instruct four stars to leave immediately
Barcelona’s financial perils have been well documented. Indeed, sources place their debts at anywhere between £550m to £800m. It’s also claimed they owe the likes of Frenkie de Jong and Gerard Pique millions in wages.
And while they have generated some revenue by selling 15% of their TV rights, they remain in a huge hole.
As such, the club has been as active on offloading stars as well as signing them this summer.
Clement Lenglet and Philippe Coutinho have already departed – but there are several more up for sale. Indeed, this report listed eight other stars, alongside Manchester United target De Jong – who are up for sale.
Now, as per the Daily Express, Barcelona have responded to Raphinha’s imminent arrival by telling four stars to leave urgently.
Indeed, Memphis Depay, Samuel Umtiti, Neto and Martin Braithwaite are all available on cut-price deals.
How will Leeds fare in the Premier League next season without Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips?
How will Leeds cope without Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips in the upcoming campaign?
Barcelona will hope to claim around £40m from the quartet’s sales. Furthermore, they will also save significantly on wages if they were to depart.
And it’s been made clear they will play no part in Xavi’s squad this upcoming season if they stick around.