Leeds United winger Raphinha has reportedly seen his hopes of a move to Barcelona take a dramatic nosedive.
The Brazilian has been one of Leeds’ few bright sparks in a disastrous season that leaves them staring relegation in the face. With just one match remaining, Leeds have a one-point advantage on 18th-placed Burnley. However, the Clarets boast an extra game to Leeds and can put themselves in a strong position if they take a point at Villa Park on Thursday.
In the event of relegation, Leeds will likely lose a number of their star players. That exit list will likely be headed by Raphinha. The Brazilian winger cut a disconsolate figure on Sunday as he sat siliently by the post after the game. His behaviour was regarded by many as a sure sign that Sunday was his final appearance at Elland Road.
While Leeds managed to salvage a late draw with Brighton, it means his possible final game at Elland Road was not a winning one.
With a lucrative move seemingly close, he wants to leave on a high with Leeds still a Premier League club.
Of his suitors, it is Barcelona who have emerged from the shadows. To that end, the star has reportedly decided that’s where he wants to play next season. And a report earlier this month stated that negotiations over the sale of Raphinha to Barcelona are being left in the hands of his agent, Deco.
However, reports in the Spanish media now claim that Barcelona may be having second thoughts over the prospective transfer.
Barcelona focus is on retaining Dembele
As per Marca, Barcelona are now prioritising a contract extension instead for Ousmane Dembele.
The Frenchman has finally discovered his best form at Barcelona and is enjoying a fruitful partnership with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Having overcome his injury problems, Dembele has 13 assists and one goal in just 15 LaLiga starts this season.
And it’s that kind of form which is convincing Barcelona to raise the stakes. And as a result, they are making a renewed bid to tie him down to a lucrative new deal.
His contract expires in a matter of weeks. As such, the winger will be eligible to make a free transfer to a club of his choosing.
However, Marca claims Barcelona coach Xavi is doing all in his power to persuade Dembele to stay.
And should he manage to convince the World Cup winner to sign on, Barca will then likely abandon their plans for Raphinha.
Leeds given tiny grain of hope over Raphinha
Of course, it still looks likely that Raphinha will quit Elland Road this summer.
That said, if his hopes of a move to Barca fail to come off and should Leeds avoid the drop, they will maybe gain a small seed of hope that he may stay.
The World Cup is just a matter of months away. And his exposure in the Premier League with Leeds has earned him his chance with Brazil.
That said, a player of Raphinha’s ability most certainly deserves to be playing in the Champions League.
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
Leeds are not able to offer him that and, even in the event of survival, a move away remains likely.
And while his future is seemingly inter-linked with that of Dembele, Raphinha may yet seal a move to Bayern Munich or PSG, both of whom are known suitors.
Bayern are looking to bolster their attacking options this summer and are reportedly chasing Sadio Mane.