Leeds United are in for a big pay-day, but from whom? In what has developed into the most intriguing transfer race of the summer, 25-year-old Brazilian winger, Raphinha, had been poised to join Arsenal, then Chelsea, but now, seems likely to ply his trade aboard, with La Liga giants Barcelona expected to swoop in for his signature.
While Chelsea have reportedly agreed to a deal worth £65m with Leeds for the Brazilian’s services, according to Fabrizio Romano, the race for his signing remains open, with Arsenal and Barcelona expected to “…try until the last minute to get this deal done.” Moreover, with the player’s agent pushing for a move to Barcelona despite the club’s uncertain financial situation, the race for Raphinha is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon.
However, yet to agree on personal terms with the Blues, the Brazilian is likely to cause a bidding war, having, reportedly, already agreed to the same with Barcelona since February. With Arsenal uncertain to launch an increased bid, despite being the first to register their interest in the player, it remains to be seen if Barcelona outbid both Premier League clubs in their pursuit of Raphinha.
In pole position to secure his signing before Chelsea’s interest, Arsenal’s failure to meet Leeds’ demands saw their offer rejected by the Yorkshire club last week. Having already secured the signing of Gabriel Jesus from Manchester City, the Gunners are keen on securing another forward, with Raphinha emerging as a promising prospect for Arteta’s project at the club.
While unlikely to launch a significantly increased bid for the player, given the club’s show of financial muscle hitherto, the Brazilian remains within the reach of the Gunners, with Edu unlikely to back out of the race provided the player remains open to a move to the Emirates. Moreover, with Barcelona’s transfer budget dependent on asset and player sales, Arsenal could find themselves in a two-horse race for Raphinha sometime this month, with Chelsea currently the frontrunner for his signature.
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Having sensed an opportunity following Arsenal’s failure to meet Leeds’ valuation for the player, a striking move by the Blues saw them swiftly agree to a deal on the transfer fee with the Yorkshire club earlier this week. However, with Chelsea yet to open talks on personal terms with Raphinha, according to reports, the player’s likely destination remains Barcelona, with both him and his agent, Deco, earmarking the La Liga giants as their preferred club this summer.
In the market for attacking players ahead of the upcoming campaign, Chelsea are said to have identified both Raheem Sterling and Ousmane Dembele as potential targets alongside Raphinha this transfer window. While the Blues have made a breakthrough in talks with Leeds over Raphinha, according to Fabrizio Romano, the player’s agent is reported to have met with Barcelona last Wednesday, with the club having contacted Leeds soon after with the intentions of making a bid for the player.
With Chelsea remaining the favourites to land the Brazilian despite strong interest from Barcelona hitherto, it remains to be seen if the La Liga club outbid the Blues for his services this summer.
Reportedly, the player’s preferred destination, Barcelona are expected to launch another official bid provided they reach an agreement with Leeds over the Raphinha’s transfer fee this summer. Having had their initial written proposal turned down by the Yorkshire club according to Fabrizio Romano, the La Liga club will be needing to increase their offer if they are to land the Brazilian this summer.
While the 25-year-old is already said to have agreed personal terms with Barcelona, the club’s cash injection of £178m pounds, owing to the sale of 10% of their La Liga TV rights earlier this week, is likely to boost their chances in securing his services. However, with Chelsea having tabled an offer close to £65m, the La Liga giants will be required to offer in excess of £70m.
Moreover, with Chelsea prepared to pay a guaranteed fee of £60m including add-ons as opposed to Barcelona’s relatively unsatisfying fee and payment structure, it remains unlikely Raphinha secures a move to his favoured club, hitherto. However, with the player “trying to force negotiations with the Catalans,” despite Leeds’ preference to complete the deal with Chelsea, it remains to be seen if Barcelona release additional funds with the aim of outbidding the Blues in the immediate future.