The lowdown: Growing interest in Raphinha
However, it now appears that there could be a new frontrunner in the pursuit of the flamboyant Brazilian…
The latest: Price drop pending?
As per a report from Mundo Deportivo highlighting the top summer targets in Catalonia, Barcelona manager Xavi has Raphinha in his ‘sights’ as the legendary former midfielder turned manager attempts to strengthen the ranks at Camp Nou.
It is claimed that the deal is ‘conditional on the future’ of Leeds, which suggests that relegation for the Yorkshire club would mean a definite departure for the seven-cap Brazil international.
Furthermore, the report claimed, that despite Raphinha holding a current market value of £40.5m from Transfermarkt, a loss of top-flight status could see a move completed for around €25m (£21m) this summer.
The verdict: Premier League status is crucial
Having played 90 minutes in the 1-1 draw against Brighton at Elland Road on Sunday, BBC journalist Jonathan Buchan took to Twitter to suggest that the man who was dubbed a ‘magician’ by team-mate Dan James could’ve played his final home game for Leeds.
With 28 direct goal contributions in 66 outings so far for the Whites, Raphinha has been a superb capture for £17m from Ligue 1 outfit Rennes (BBC) in October 2020 and has certainly proven to be at a good enough level to remain amongst the upper echelons of European club football.
How many signings do Leeds need to make this summer?
Whilst the retention of top-flight football is pivotal for more than just the winger’s continued presence at the club, avoiding a possible cut-price sale of such prized assets – as has been mooted by this report – is almost as important for the club financially.
Selling Raphinha or indeed the much-coveted Kalvin Phillips at a bargain fee due to the loss of Premier League status would be a huge blow to the Whites’ finances and would likely hinder any plans that Jesse Marsch and Andrea Radrizzani may have in place to strengthen the squad at Thorp Arch this summer.
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