Leeds talisman Raphinha is set to provide one of the biggest Premier League transfer sagas of the summer, with a host of clubs interested and the Brazilian apparently keeping his options open.
Whatever happens, Los Blancos are going to make a hefty profit from the £17million they paid Rennes for the 25-year-old’s services in October 2020. 90 minutes understand Leeds will command at least £55million for the winger – and there’s no shortage of suitors.
Raphinha has emerged as the star man for Elland Road and played a huge role in maintaining Leeds’ Premier League status in 2021/22, but it looks like his days there are numbered as he eyes a new challenge elsewhere.
Here are the contenders for Raphinha’s signature, with the pursuit finely balanced between some of Europe’s big boys…
Of the teams interested in trapping Raphinha, Arsenal fell back first. The Gunners have already seen an initial offer rejected out of hand for the Brazil international, with their offer falling well short of Leeds’ valuation.
However, as evidenced by their imminent capture of Man City striker Gabriel Jesus, Arsenal are not kidding this summer and will almost certainly return with an improved offer.
It is believed that the Brazil international is not against a move to the Emirates Stadium, despite Arsenal’s continued absence from the Champions League.
A move to Camp Nou is believed to be Raphinha’s preferred destination, which is fair enough considering the long line of Brazilian superstars who have shone there over the years.
However, it will be complicated for Barca to complete a deal due to their precarious financial situation. The sale of Frenkie de Jong to Manchester United could move things forward but the Catalans seem to have a number of deals they want to complete.
90 minutes understands Raphinha’s agent Deco is trying to persuade Leeds to do a deal with his former club for less than £50m, and he’s ready to give Barca time to raise the necessary funds.
Chelsea’s name has been mentioned in dispatches alongside Raphinha, but the west Londoners appear set to step up their pursuit of Man City winger Raheem Sterling instead, while Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele remains a target .
Of course, things can change quickly, but the Blues’ passive stance at this stage suggests they have other priorities. Sterling may well be cheaper and bring extensive Premier League winning experience, and Dembele is reportedly available on a free transfer.
However, if anything goes wrong with these deals, Raphinha will be high on Chelsea’s list of alternatives.
Interest from Tottenham is at a similar level to that of Chelsea, with other options taking priority at this stage.
Although he wants to add more quality depth, it seems unlikely that Antonio Conte will want to break his impressive top three of Son Heung-min, Harry Kane and Dejan Kulusevski when the first signs are so positive and he there are few attacks. squares in its 3-4-3 form.
Sources said 90 minutes that Raphinha’s compatriot Richarlison is higher on Spurs’ wishlist, and they are preparing to make an opening bid for the Everton man. He may well prove more expensive than his Leeds counterpart.
Listen now to the 90min Talking Transfers podcast, with Scott Saunders, Graeme Bailey, Harry Symeou & Toby Cudworth. On the latest show, they discuss Newcastle’s decision to pull out of a deal for Hugo Ekitike and offer the latest on Arsenal’s pursuit of Gabriel Jesus. Available on all audio platforms and the 90 minute YouTube channel.
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The dark horses are chasing Raphinha, but – unlike Turkey at Euro 2020 – West Ham should not be ruled out.
As first reported by 90 minutesthe Hammers made a bold offer to sign the winger in January, and sources have confirmed their interest remains.
The player was open to change back then and that hasn’t changed as he considers all his options. The Hammers can also offer European football in the form of the Europa Conference League and a guaranteed starting spot as the World Cup approaches.