Leeds United winger Raphinha has reportedly decided on where he will play his football next season – and will look to force the issue once the Whites’ battle to beat the drop has been concluded.
The Brazilian star has emerged as one of European football’s most sought-after stars. An excellent season with Leeds has seen him score 10 goals and make three more – not bad going for a side struggling at the wrong end of the table. And while Raphinha’s form has dropped off in recent months, he still very much remains a man in huge demand.
Indeed, he is being linked with several big-name sides this summer. Bayern Munich were the first to be linked, while Liverpool and Chelsea are also being touted as potential options.
However, perhaps the loudest whispers have come from Barcelona, with their interest in the Brazil winger widely documented.
Their coach Xavi is reportedly a huge fan of the player, with his friendship with the player’s agent, Deco, also strengthening their chances.
Now Spanish daily Sport has a major update on the transfer saga.
They claim Raphinha has decided that he wants to play for Barcelona next season and will do all in his power to ‘force the move’.
Keen to finish at Leeds on a high note
However, they claim that Raphinha is extremely grateful to Leeds and will not rock the boat until the season has concluded. That’s because they state the winger is ‘extremely grateful’ to the Whites for helping take his career to the next level.
They report that Raphinha is grateful to Leeds for bringing him to the Premier League and highlighting his abilities to a worldwide audience. Furthermore, he knows that without Leeds, he would not be in a position to sign for Barcelona in the first instance.
As such, Raphinha is ready to put his heart and soul into ensuring Leeds end the season still as a Premier League club. Furthermore, he wants to pay the club back in the best way possible by helping them to safety.
Leeds are currently in a scrap for safety with Burnley and Everton also firmly in the mix.
And with four games left of Leeds’ season, they will need Raphinha firing on all cylinders.
Barcelona ‘reserving a role’ for Raphinha
The report states that Barcelona already have a role reserved for the winger in their side next season. Indeed, Xavi wants Raphinha to play on the right of their attack and will grant him that ‘leading role’ next season.
The move is reportedly in Deco’s capable hands to finalise. Sport claims he is the ‘leading figure’ and influencer to the transfer and that he is the man who first put Raphinha’s name on the table for the Spanish giants.
Barcelona price for Raphinha if Leeds get relegated
Barcelona want to sign Raphinha from Leeds United but don’t want to pay half of wanted fee if Leeds get relegated
They conclude he will do everything in his power to ensure the move goes through.
Quite what the price will be, however, remains to be seen.
They state Barcelona are willing to go as high as £34.1m (€40m), though Leeds, understandably, rate the player far higher.
However, were Leeds to go down, they may lose the player for even less due to an apparent relegation clause in his contract.