Leeds United

Leeds United

Premier League • England

Raphinha transfer latest: Leeds given fresh hope of retaining star as Barcelona open talks with former Man Utd winger

Raphinha, Leeds United winger, during Premier League clash against Everton

Leeds United have seemingly seen their prospects of keeping the services of Raphinha grow amid claims Barcelona are in talks with an alternative to play on the wing.

The Brazilian star was the shining light as Leeds – by the tighest of margins – avoided a rapid return to the Championship. Finishing in 17th place, Raphinha was their star attraction, scoring 11 goals and assisting with three more.

And that kind of form has alerted him to some of the powerhouses in European football. Amid links to some Premier League big-hitters, it is actually Spanish giants Barcelona for whom Raphinha is most strongly linked.

They have made no secret of their admiration for the player. Furthermore, Raphinha himself has reportedly made clear his wishes to move to the Nou Camp.

And those rumours have enhanced on the back of an admission from his Leeds teammate Diego Llorente.

Still, any such move to Barcelona is far from cut and dried. Barcelona have to be very careful about what they spend. And as it stands, they remain unable to register their two summer signings Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen as they look to reduce their wage bill.

As such, they are looking to sell up to nine players to generate some funds and free up their budget.

However, despite not wanting to stand in Raphinha’s way, Leeds refuse to sanction his sale for less than his worth. To that end, a report last week suggested Barcelona are not able to meet United’s minimum £60m asking price.

Free agent on Barcelona’s radar

Now Leeds’ hopes of keeping Raphinha from Barcelona’s grasp appear to be growing.

That’s amid claims that the Blaugrana are now in talks with Angel Di Maria, who also plays on the wing.

The Argentine is a free agent this summer having left PSG after seven seasons.

He has been in extensive talks with Juventus. But the Italians’ refusal to offer him the two-year deal he is craving appears to have damaged their chances.

Now, as per Fabrizio Romano, Barcelona are ‘following his situation closely’. And their coach Xavi has already held talks with the 34-year-old over a potential move.

Di Maria signing would end Raphinha transfer plan

The fact Barcelona are in talks with Di Maria is surely a good sign for Leeds United.

With their finances severly limited, it seems impossible to see – without a huge cash injection – how they will afford the Raphinha transfer fee.

As such, a move for free agent Di Maria makes much more sense for the Catalan giants.

That move would certainly be a controversial one in Spain, given Di Maria’s past association with Real Madrid.

Leeds stand firm on huge Raphinha deal breaker

Leeds United won’t be moved from their stance on the Raphinha transfer as Barcelona want to pay in instalments

And his signing would surely spell curtains for Barcelona’s attempts to sign Raphinha.

Whether that would mean he stays at Leeds beyond the summer window though remains up for debate.

And Barca’s potential withdrawal may yet let in other sides seemingly looking at the Brazilian.

That said, Raphinha has seemingly rejected a move to Liverpool, with his verdict shutting down talk of Takumi Minamino switch to Leeds.