Leeds United may be starting to buckle in their battle to keep Raphinha after a report claimed they have begun lowering their asking price.
Raphinha could have played his last game for Leeds United after two seasons at the club. Indeed, the winger is a top target for a Barcelona side set to lose Ousmane Dembele. There has also been interest from the Premier League, but the Brazilian just wants Barcelona.
However, the La Liga outfit’s attempts to sign him have not been as straightforward as they would have liked. Raphinha would have been available for €25m (£21.4m) if Leeds United had suffered relegation. Yet they finished 17th to stay up.
Therefore, Leeds now have a stronger negotiating stance. As Diario Sport remind, they have been holding out for a fee in the region of €60m (£51.3m), which may be beyond Barcelona’s reach.
But the source now reveals that Leeds are starting to understand they may be fighting a losing battle. It is becoming clearer that Raphinha wants to leave the club, halfway into the original four-year contract he agreed to.
Hence, Sport speculate that he has convinced Leeds to at least lower their asking price to €50m (£42.7m). They would still be more than doubling the reported size of their initial investment; although an undisclosed fee, they were believed to have paid Rennes €20m (£17.1m) to take him in the first place.
Now, Barcelona are still studying their options as to how they can either meet Leeds’ new demand, or drive it down further. There is “no intention of paying a premium” for the 25-year-old.
Barcelona have identified Angel Di Maria as an alternative, but know Raphinha would be more of a long-term solution than the departing PSG veteran.
Therefore, Leeds should be bracing themselves for further Barcelona attempts to snatch their number 10. Perhaps they are starting to accept their fate.
Raphinha deal could help Leeds reinvest
Leeds have already made two summer signings in the shape of Brenden Aaronson and Rasmus Kristensen. A third is on the way, with Marc Roca due for a medical on Friday.
The club are clearly looking at where they could strengthen after surviving by the skin of their teeth last term.
Liverpool will rival Barcelona for Raphinha
Liverpool target Leeds United winger Raphinha, but they might need to raise funds first.
But to fund further reinforcements, perhaps a big sale would be beneficial. Kalvin Phillips or Raphinha – or both – look the likeliest to move on.
By sanctioning a big-money exit, Leeds could in theory add to their transfer budget. It is understandable why they want to earn as much money for Raphinha as they can, given his quality and the calibre of club chasing him.
So €50m would seem to be a reasonable value to go with, before they turn to potential further incomings.