The truth behind Barcelona selling Raphinha back to the Premier League has emerged, with a Liverpool swap dismissed but Tottenham and Newcastle both in the mix.
Arsenal and Chelsea both bid for Raphinha in the summer window of 2022. The left-footed Brazilian was on the books at Leeds United at the time, though The Whites were on the cusp of cashing in.
Chelsea actually saw their bid accepted by Leeds, only for Barcelona to sweep in at a late stage and turn Raphinha’s head.
South American stars dreaming of playing for one of Spain’s big two is nothing new. That concept proved vital in steering Raphinha’s future to Catalonia, with Barcelona (£50m plus £5m in add-ons) completing their deal for a sum below what Chelsea bid (£60m rising to £65m).
Joining Barcelona was the dream outcome for Raphinha, though the bloom is now very much off the rose.
Amid the emergence of 16-year-old Lamine Yamal and generally failing to live up to expectations, Raphinha has been limited to 402 minutes of action this season.
The 26-year-old is only a squad player under Xavi and talk of Barcelona cashing in has done the rounds.
Firstly, claims Liverpool could swap Luis Diaz with Raphinha made their way into the Spanish media last week.
Diaz – you won’t be surprised to learn – dreams of playing for Barcelona one day, according to his own father.
Tottenham, Newcastle could swoop next summer
Both clubs reportedly hold moderate interest in the player which could intensify come the summer. At that stage, Barcelona will require a major player sale or two to finance the permanent signings of Joao Cancelo and Joao Felix.
For the time being, FI claim talk of Raphinha leaving Barcelona in January is primarily being driven by the club. In other words, they’re attempting to drum up interest and are gearing up to cash in on the ex-Leeds man.
It’s claimed Tottenham and/or Newcastle could well swoop in the summer if Raphinha is made available ‘for the right price’. £40m-£50m could reportedly be enough to get the green light from Barcelona.
But for now at least, don’t expect Raphinha to be on the move in January.