Leeds United have been told there remains a possibility that Raphinha will remain at Elland Road beyond this summer’s window, should a move to Barcelona not materialise.
The Brazilian star finds himself the subject of intense speculation this summer after an excellent season with Leeds. Raphinha scored 11 times and weighed in with three assists as the West Yorkshire side narrowly avoided the drop.
But his efforts have only attracted a string of admirers all looking to pluck the hugely-talented Brazilian away from Elland Road. Indeed, he has been strongly linked with a huge move to Barcelona, as they look to bring in a replacement for Ousmane Dembele.
They have made no secret of their admiration for the Leeds star, with Raphinha himself eager to make the move. However, Leeds’ £42.9m (€50m) asking price is proving problematic for Barca, who remain in a financial pickle.
With Barcelona stalling, that has allowed other suitors to nip in. And one of those, Arsenal, have launched an opening offer for his services.
However, it seems Raphinha does not have any interest in signing for the Gunners. As per The Athletic, they are only third on his list of preferred clubs.
Furthermore, the Daily Mirror reports that Leeds have now rejected that approach from the Gunners. While the exact amount Arsenal offered is yet to be disclosed, multiple reports suggest their offer was in and around the £30m mark.
That is considerably lower than Leeds’ minimum price on the winger. As such, Arsenal will have to come again with an improved offer if they are to land the star.
In addition, Wednesday’s Euro Paper Talk suggests Tottenham are planning a rival bid which comes in much nearer to Leeds’ valuation.
Barcelona or no-one for winger
However, by all accounts Raphinha really only wants a move to Barcelona.
As a result, if they unable to finance the deal this summer, Leeds have been told there remains the possibility that Raphinha may stay.
That suggestion comes from South American football expert Tim Vickery, or claims it could be ‘Barcelona or no-one’ for Raphinha.
“If you’re a Brazilian, and Barcelona come knocking, it’s so hard to say no,” Vickery said.
“In Raphinha’s shoes, if it’s not Barcelona, they might be a temptation just to stay put because of the World Cup.
“Normally, you’d go. But let’s not rock the boat.”
Vickery also suggests Arsenal’s interest in Raphinha may not be genuine and that their No 1 target is Gabriel Jesus.
“Do Arsenal want both Raphinha and Gabriel Jesus? Does that mean Gabriel Jesus is a No 9 for them, a centre-forward for them? Because if not Gabriel Jesus really likes wide right – which is Raphinha’s happiest position,” he added.
Tottenham lurking in the background for Raphinha
Spurs continue to lurk in the background for Raphinha, that said, and reports in Spain claim they are readying an approach of their own.
As per Marca, Spurs’ bid would actually come closer to Leeds’ valuation. That will give Arsenal, Barca and Raphinha something to think about.
As such, talkSPORT’s transfer expert Alex Crook reckons Leeds will not stand in the player’s way if their valuation is matched.
“Leeds are looking for around £50m.
“I know Tottenham are lurking in the background as well.
“They may be in a stronger position than Arsenal because of course they can offer Champions League football.
“It’s become clear to me that Leeds won’t stand in his way if he gets a suitable offer.”
As for now, Leeds are 100% correct to dismiss Arsenal’s offer. With several weeks left of the window, Leeds do need to ensure they stand their ground. Furthermore, they simply must hold out and collect the right fee for the player.
That said, if he is intent on waiting it out for Barcelona, we may just see the prospect of Raphinha starting the season still registered to Leeds.