Leeds braced for Barcelona Raphinha bid even if they stay up as Brazilian ‘primary’ target

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Barcelona are preparing to launch a move for Leeds United winger Raphinha in the not-too-distant future regardless of whether or not the Yorkshire outfit manage to secure Premier League survival, according to reports. Raphinha has been linked with a move away from Elland Road for some time and is widely expected to seek a new challenge elsewhere at the end of the current campaign.

The Brazilian maestro is said to be on Barcelona’s wish list ahead of next season but it has recently been suggested that he will only stand a realistic chance of joining the Catalan giants if Leeds fail to retain their top-flight status over the coming weeks. However, it seems as though Raphinha will be targeted even if the Whites manage to survive in the Premier League under the guidance of Jesse Marsch.

Barcelona are planning a number of different approaches for Raphinha which are dependent on the division that Leeds will be playing in next season, according to The Telegraph. It is claimed that imminent talks have been scheduled between the two clubs in an attempt to find a solution that works for all parties before the transfer window opens in a few weeks’ time.

Raphinha has reportedly been identified as a ‘primary’ target by those in command at the Nou Camp after excelling on a regular basis for Leeds over the course of the last two seasons. He is believed to have a release clause of around £25million that will become active if Leeds are relegated to the Championship, a fee that Barcelona are willing to pay in order to get their man.

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Leeds would almost certainly be set to make a profit on Raphinha if he is sold to Barcelona ahead of the new campaign after spending just £17m to snap him up from Rennes back in 2020. However, it remains to be seen if a deal can be agreed at club level when talks regarding a move for the 25-year-old get underway over the next few weeks.

Raphinha’s agent, Deco, is said to have strong links to those in power at Barcelona from his playing days in Spain and is expected to play a major role in securing his client’s future before the start of next season. He has already suggested that Raphinha will eventually be looking to move on to bigger and better things than Leeds when quizzed on his potential next destination back in October.

“There are certainly many clubs interested in him,” Deco told Brazilian outlet Globo. “Liverpool do like him and there were some approaches [last summer] but nothing official, Leeds wanted to keep him for another season.

“Raphinha is happy at Leeds, but there will certainly come a time when he wants to take a step up in his career and move forward. He has three years left on his contract but there’s nothing in it that states how long he must stay for or that prevents transfers.

“Leeds are aware of that and will want to sell him for a big sum, while Raphinha will end up progressing in his career.”

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