A deal to take Raphinha to Barcelona looks to have hit the skids with Xavi Hernandez seemingly winning his battle to convince another star to stay at the Nou Camp.
The Leeds man has been the star of the show as far as the West Yorkshire club are concerned. In 27 Premier League appearances this season, Raphinha has nine goals and three assists. That is form that has, effectively, kept the relegation zone at arms width for Leeds. Little wonder then, that he’s a man very much in demand.
Indeed, Raphinha’s phenomenal rise at Elland Road has seen the player earn international recognition with Brazil too. He’s been branded a certainty to make Tete’s squad for Qatar 2022 after some big performances for la Selecao.
With that, however, comes plenty of transfer attention too. Just before Christmas, he was touted as a potential target for Bayern Munich. Prior to that, there was interest in and among the Premier League with Liverpool and Chelsea seemingly keen.
Furthermore, West Ham reportedly saw an ambitious January approach fail.
However, the loudest whispers of all have come over the past fortnight with Barcelona seemingly leading the chase.
They are reportedly huge admirers of the winger, with boss Xavi Hernandez reportedly making Raphinha his No 1 target.
In addition, Barca have a very close relationship with Raphinha’s agent, Deco, who earns additional income as a South American agent for the Blaugrana.
Barcelona offer will have fallen well short
Indeed, their quest to sign the Leeds man even saw president Joan Laporta label Raphinha “a great player”.
And the alarm bells may have been ringing that bit louder at Elland Road amid claims Barca were preparing an opening bid for the 25-year-old.
However, finances remain tight at the Nou Camp and funding such a deal will not come cheap.
Furthermore, any offer of around the reported £33.5m mark will not cut the mustard with Leeds. And in the absence of any sort of exit clause in his deal, Leeds would be well within their rights to stick a minimum £60m fee on the winger’s head.
Dembele U-turn sparks Raphinha change of heart for Barcelona
Barcelona’s interest in Raphinha though is understandable.
Leeds United value Raphinha at £70m putting many teams off
Leeds United value Raphinha at £70m which will put off Barcelona, Bayern Munich and PSG
With Ousmane Dembele nearing the end of his deal and seemingly destined to leave on a free, Xavi was keen on a top-class successor.
The World Cup winning France star has been offered multiple deals – but has ignored all offers to date with a move overseas looking likely.
However, Mundo Deportivo now reports that Dembele has had a major change of heart – and will now sign fresh terms.
The claim Dembele is now loving life under Xavi and feels it would be a mistake to walk away now.
The 24-year-old is arguably playing the best football of his time at the Nou Camp since arriving in a £104m deal in 2017.
As such, Mundo Deportivo claims Dembele has now abandoned all thoughts of leaving and will now sign fresh terms.
He will, however, be likely to sign a deal that will see him take a pay-cut; something he is now willing to do.
And with Dembele now staying, that will reportedly signal the end of Barcelona’s very public courtship of Raphinha.
We understand talks over his future at Leeds will now be held once the club’s safety is assured.
The Whites, however, are not totally out of the woods. That’s after reports earlier on Wednesday claimed Arsenal were readying an approach of their own.