Leeds United are making it clear they have no intention of selling Raphinha on the cheap after Barcelona chief Joan Laporta made clear their desire to sign him this summer.
The Brazilian winher has established himself as the crown jewel in Leeds’ crown. Indeed, since their return to the Premier League, Raphinha has scored 15 goals and notched 12 assists from his 59 appearances for the Whites. A hard-working player too, it is easy to see why some of the world’s elite sides would love to have him in their side.
His form for Leeds this season, particularly in the opening four months of the season, has almost single-handedly kept Leeds afloat. Indeed, his brilliance set up Joe Gelhardt for a dramatic late winner against Norwich recently. The winger, though, was missing last time out as Leeds made it back-to-back wins with a last-gasp 3-2 win at Wolves.
Indeed, that £17.1m that Leeds paid Rennes for Raphinha appears to be one of the transfer bargains of the decade.
However, keeping him beyond this season appears a tough task with a plethora of sides waiting in the wings. Indeed, as early as last summer, the likes of Liverpool and PSG were being linked with a move.
Over Christmas, Bayern Munich were tipped up as major suitors. PSG’s name then entered the running amid claims Kylian Mbappe will be lured away.
But lately, it is Barcelona’s name that has been most strongly linked. And with rumours snowballing, a report earlier this month claims Raphinha has already agreed personal terms on a move to the Nou Camp.
However, TEAMtalk understands Leeds United are not yet in receipt of any kind of formal offer from Barca for Raphinha.
Talks over Raphinha future
Furthermore, with their Premier League status still not secure, that remains paramount for Leeds. As such, United wait until the end of the season before holding talks on the player’s future.
The Whites previously held talks with his agent Deco just before Christmas over a contract extension.
And while an agreement couldn’t be reached, Leeds feel the talks went well. Any new deal for Raphinha will likely see the player become their first £100,000 a week player.
That said, Raphinha Barcelona rumours are rarely out of the news these days.
Now, for the first time, their president Joan Laporta has broken his silence on their interest.
The Barca chief has also confirmed two summer deals that are already in place too. They are reportedly for Andreas Christensen, from Chelsea, and AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie.
Raphinha agrees terms with Barcelona as Leeds exit likely
Raphinha is set to leave Leeds United for Barcelona this summer and has agreed terms with the La Liga side
“We have two signings lined up, maybe a centre-back and a midfielder, yes. It could be a central defender and a midfielder, yes,” Laporta told RAC1.
Then, in name-checking Leeds star Raphinha, he did seemingly send a clear message of intent.
“Raphinha, on the other hand, is a great player. We have good reports on him. [His agent] Deco has his job and informs us of details so we don’t make mistakes. And in some cases he has helped us a lot.”
Raphinha Barcelona deal far from certain
After a difficult two year-spell, Xavi’s side are looking to rebuild with a host of shrewd signings.
Indeed, the likes of Christensen and Kessie will both arrive as free agents.
It’s also debatable just how much money Barcelona have to spend. Their finances remain in dire straits, with many of their star names being asked to take pay cuts.
As such, reports that they can only go as high as £33.5m for Raphinha will not go down well with Leeds. That is understood to be well below their valuation of the player and believe he should fetch anything between £60m – £70m in the modern market.
And if Barcelona are unable to match their asking price, Leeds are, absolutely, under no obligation to sell.
They remain in a relatively strong position over the player given he has two years left on his deal.
And with the World Cup taking place later this year, Leeds know his valuation could multiply by the time the January window rolls around.
Leeds do, however, hold interest in one Barcelona player themselves, amid claims the Blaugrana may be willing to discuss a possible swap.