La Liga heavyweights Barcelona are reportedly looking to steal a march on Chelsea to secure the services of Leeds United talisman Raphinha.
According to a report by Daily Telegraph, Chelsea could face the threat of Barcelona hijacking their deal to sign Raphinha from Leeds United in the summer transfer window. The Catalan giants are plotting a last-ditch move to prise the Brazilian international away from Elland Road, beating the Blues to his signature.
Raphinha has been a revelation since joining Leeds United from Stade Rennais in October 2020. The 25-year-old has been, by far, the best performer for the Whites in the last two seasons and played a leading role in helping the West Yorkshire club stave off relegation from the Premier League in 2021/22.
The Brazilian international raked in 11 goals and three assists in 35 Premier League appearances. But after helping Leeds United remain in the Premier League, Raphinha wants to depart from Elland Road in the summer transfer window, with Chelsea reportedly agreeing to a deal to sign him. But Barcelona will soon attempt to hijack the Blues’ move for the player.
Barcelona recently intensified efforts to sign Raphinha, but Leeds United’s asking price has been a stumbling block. With their economic levers yet to get activated, the Catalan giants are unable to launch the offensive for their priority targets. In addition, Barcelona will also need to lighten the wage bill to make room for new signings.
Raphinha deal, key hours ahead. 🚨🇧🇷 #Raphinha
▫️ Chelsea will have direct talk with his agent Deco today, waiting for an answer on personal terms;
▫️ Both Barcelona and Arsenal, trying until the end;
▫️ Leeds have full agreement with Chelsea, but also depends on player side. pic.twitter.com/ipt8JBo066
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) June 30, 2022
The delay in Barcelona’s approach has allowed Chelsea to swoop in and prise Raphinha away from Elland Road. Reports this week have claimed that the west London club and Leeds have reached an agreement over a move for the Brazilian international. And while Raphinha had previously been reluctant to join a Premier League club, he cannot wait forever for Barcelona.
But even though Chelsea had the impetus to wrap up Raphinha’s signing quickly, the Blaugrana could usurp the Premier League outfit with a last-ditch attempt to land their priority target. Personal terms should not be an issue for Barcelona, but matching Chelsea’s bid for the 25-year-old might be a tall order.
The latest development should hold up Chelsea’s proposed move to sign Raphinha. And after gazumping Arsenal’s bid to sign the Brazilian international. Chelsea could be at the receiving end of a hijack themselves, this time at the hands of Barcelona. It will be interesting to see if Barcelona can beat the Blues to Raphinha’s signature.