Leeds United winger Raphinha has been heavily linked with a move away from Elland Road this summer. Barcelona have been keen on the Brazilian for a number of months now, while Liverpool could also reignite their long-standing interest with Sadio Mane set to leave this summer.
It had looked almost certain that Raphinha was set to leave in the coming months, however recent developments suggest that this could be a long-running saga that could result in him staying. Barcelona’s move for Raphinha now looks as though it hinged on Leeds being relegated from the Premier League so that they could take advantage of his £ 25 million release clause.
However, with that no longer the case and Leeds instead demanding in excess of £ 60 million for their talisman, Barcelona’s interest now hangs in the balance. Following another busy few days of stories, here is a round-up of the latest news on Raphinha and a potential transfer.
GO HERE: The Big LUFC survey – have YOUR say
Liverpool target Nunez
Liverpool are interested in Benfica forward Darwin Nunez as a Raphinha alternative amid Leeds United’s firm stance on the winger. The Reds are in the market for a marquee forward following increasing resignation that Sadio Mane will go to Bayern Munich, and they have shown interest in Raphinha for some time.
But the Whites have reportedly made firm their demands of £ 60-70million paid upfront, forcing the Reds to look for alternative options. The 22-year-old Nunez had an outstanding season for Benfica last season, scoring 26 goals in 28 Portuguese Primera Liga appearances and also hit six goals in 10 Champions League games.
Barcelona turn attention elsewhere
Barcelona have started to look into alternatives to Leeds United winger Raphinha according to reports in Spain and could sign Angel Di Maria as a short-term fix. The 34-year-old will be a free agent after running down his contract at Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the month, and reportedly wants a one-year deal with a European club before ending his career in Argentina.
Barcelona have made Raphinha their priority target for the summer but their negotiations have stalled amid Leeds’ firm stance. The Whites have set a price tag of £ 60-70 million and will not accept an offer of installations – demands which a financially-stricken Barcelona may struggle to meet.
A few weeks ago, it was reported in Spain that Raphinha would hand in a transfer request. That’s according to SPORT, who claim that the Brazilian is looking to force a move to the Spanish giants.
The Catalan side have made no secret of their interest in the Leeds man, who finished the season as the club’s top scorer in a disappointing campaign in the Premier League. But Raphinha’s raw ability and potential has seen him linked with a host of clubs, including Liverpool and Bayern Munich.
Sport claim that Barcelona have previously made a £ 35million bird which was rejected, with a fee of around-50-60 million reportedly wanted by the West Yorkshire club.
Liverpool offer Raphinha swap deal
Liverpool have rejoined the race for Raphinha and could offer Japanese forward Takumi Minamino in a player-plus-cash deal, according to the Mirror .
Jurgen Klopp has been a long-time admirer of the Leeds winger and will likely be in the market amid growing resignation that Sadio Mane will go to Bayern Munich.
He is reportedly prepared to use Minamino – who played under Jesse Marsch at RB Salzburg – as leverage, with Leeds making their stance of £ 60-70 million paid upfront clear.
Barcelona director of football ‘to meet’ with Leeds
Barcelona’s director of football is due to fly to England this week and meet Leeds United to try and manufacture a deal for Raphinha, according to reports. Catalan daily paper SPORTS have said that Mateu Alemany will fly to the UK next week in order to try and secure the Brazilian’s services, with the club remaining stubborn on their financial terms.
Barcelona have been heavily linked to the 25-year-old for some time, but those in charge at Elland Road have dug their heels in with a demand of £ 60-70 million paid upfront, with no consideration for installations. The Catalan club’s financial troubles have been well documented and it could be that they simply cannot afford that amount upfront, but Alemany will be hopeful an in-person meeting could soften Leeds’ stance.
Reports suggest that Barcelona consider something around £ 30-35 million a fairer price, but Leeds do not look like budging from their valuation and there are no obvious player-plus-cash deals that can help the Spanish club.
Raphinha opens up on future
Speaking to the press ahead of Brazil’s friendly with Japan on Monday, Raphinha addressed his future at Elland Road, but made clear his intention to do anything to play for Brazil in Qatar.
“If I say that it does not matter, I would be lying,” Raphinha said, as reported by Globo. “Knowing that there are less than six months left for the Cup, you have to be active in the clubs, that weighs on the decision, but I trust my potential. If it’s to stay or leave, I’ll do my best, look for my space and I’ll try to be well for the World Cup.
“I have a contract with Leeds until 2024, my future is in the hands of Deco and Leeds, I have my mind on the national team, on the game and also on my vacation, we need a vacation.
“I have a contract with Leeds and this issue is resolved by my manager, when something is right, he sends [it to] me. “