Barcelona winger Raphinha has moved to clarify claims he is open to leaving Camp Nou this summer and return to the Premier League with Newcastle.
The Brazilian star fulfiled his lifetime wish by moving to the Spanish giants last summer, sealing a move from Leeds. The 26-year-old had emerged as one of the Premier League’s leading lights during his two years in West Yorkshire, leading to a clamour for his services.
And despite offers arriving from both Arsenal and Chelsea, Raphinha only ever had eyes for Barcelona. That saw Leeds finally accept a deal worth in the region of £58m for his services.
Raphinha has adapted brilliantly to his new surroundings. A regular on Xavi’s teamsheet, he has 10 goals and nine assists from 45 appearances to his name; a goal involvement every 2.4 games.
However, speculation over his future at the club has gathered pace in recent weeks. Barcelona remain deep in the financial quagmire and reportedly need to raise some €200m before June 30.
As a result, a number of their big names could be made available for transfer, with Raphinha among those touted for a move.
Indeed, reports earlier this week suggest an offer of €80m (£69.5m) would persuade Barcelona to cash in.
And with growing reports that Lionel Messi is in line for a sensational return this summer, reports have claimed Raphinha could look to depart amid fears for his starting place.
As a result, both Newcastle and Chelsea are reportedly considering moves to bring Raphinha back to the Premier League.
Raphinha hits out at Barcelona transfer lies
However, the former Leeds man is adamant he is not looking to leave.
Having worked so hard through his career to reach Barcelona, he is determined not to give up on his dream so soon. And, in calling out those who suggest he is open to a move, Raphinha has issued a fiery response to transfer speculation.
Responding to an Instagram account called Fanatico Sport Futebol, which shared the rumours, Raphinha wrote: “Lies. The person who said this is a liar and uninformed.”
He then added: “Okay, [they] deleted my comment because lie once again. This is a lie and whoever said it is an uninformed liar and not professional. If my comment is deleted, I will post it on my instagram.”
With Raphinha determined to stay and seemingly digging in his heels to stay, focus will turn instead to other potential sales.
Long-serving midfielder Sergio Busquests has this week confirmed his plans to depart this summer. After 15 loyal years at the club, the Barcelona legend looks destined to secure a lucrative move to the Middle East.
In addition, Barcelona are also keen to offload the likes of Clement Lenglet, Samuel Umtiti, Franck Kessie and Sergino Dest. They will also reportedly listen to offers for former Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen, with a move back to London with Tottenham reportedly on the cards.
However, their biggest sale of the summer could come in the form of Ansu Fati. Raphinha’s wish to stay, together with the expected renewal of Ousmane Dembele will seemingly force the 20-year-old winger out.
Rated in the £50m bracket, Fati is reportedly holding talks over a possible move to Wolves.