Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds United pulled off quite the coup in the summer of 2020 as they announced the £17million signing of Brazilian attacker Raphinha from French Ligue 1 side Rennes.
Despite being extremely highly rated, plenty wondered how the forward would adjust to life in England, particularly given the pace and speed of the Premier League, but the Brazilian international wasted little time in announcing himself to the Elland Road faithful, opening his club goalscoring account in his fifth game for them. With five further goals coming in the 2020/21 campaign, he was well up to speed for the 2021/22 season and he’s been far more prolific this year, scoring a further nine goals across all competitions as we head towards April and despite Leeds’ struggles which have seen them part ways with Argentine Bielsa and replace him with Jesse Marsch, there’s every expectation that he’ll get himself into double figures before players have a well earned break over June and you’d be able to find good odds of that happening with online betting offers for fans who like a flutter.
Given Raphinha’s impact in the top flight, despite the aforementioned struggles the club has had this year, it was almost inevitable that there would be plenty of transfer speculation surrounding his future and the media haven’t disappointed as he’s now been long linked with a move away from Elland Road but one of the most tantalising pieces of speculation has named the Nou Camp and Spanish giants Barcelona as a potential destination.
As The Transfer Tavern have previously reported, the latest claims suggest that the Catalan club have now made Raphinha their ‘number one goal’ for a summer capture as they have now ended their hopes of signing Borussia Dortmund wonderkid Erling Haaland given the proposed fee involved and Barcelona’s own financial restraints at this current period of time. Additionally, it’s been suggested that negotiations are now ‘open’ between both clubs with a first offer reportedly already having been submitted.
If there is any truth to these rumours, and only time will tell, few Leeds fans would begrudge him such a move as Barca have historically boasted some Brazilian greats in their sides down the years, but of course, they would expect the club to drive a hard bargain here and ensure that they are appropriately compensated with a replacement being required – particularly if they do manage to secure their survival and remain in the Premier League for the coming 2022/23 campaign. Relegation back to the EFL Championship could well change the situation here with the drop in revenue that Leeds face when you consider the Financial Fair Play stipulations, but again that wouldn’t overly change their valuation of the player – in some ways, should he move on then, insisting on top dollar would be an even greater requirement to ensure the books are balanced as they reinvest in the hopes of returning to the English top flight at the first time of asking.
What that top dollar would ultimately prove to be is open to plenty of conjecture at this stage and again reportedly hinges on where the clubs future lies next season with claims of a £62million Premier League release fee, but only a £20million release fee upon relegation.
As for Raphinha himself, no doubt a potential move to Barcelona would be very enticing as his career continues on an upward curve, but having been described as ‘phenomenal’ by former Manchester United and England centre half Rio Ferdinand, former Scottish international Alan Hutton recently went further in his description of the player stating that Leeds would ‘find it very difficult to hold on to him’ given his performances for them in the Premier League and ultimately even if Barcelona didn’t make a move for him, plenty of Premier League sides higher up in the table would definitely be interested in adding him as an option to their squad list.
“It’s a much different situation to Kalvin Phillips. Phillips has ties to Leeds which go way back. He’s a fan, whereas Raphinha will definitely have urgent ambitions to play at a higher level. So if they do stay up, and there are offers from those types of teams, Liverpool and Barcelona – Leeds are going to find it very difficult to hold on to him. He’ll be thinking: ‘Do I want to be fighting relegation or fighting for winner’s medals at the highest level’. I think he would make that move, whereas Phillips – Leeds through and through – would want to fight for the cause.”
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