Chelsea are looking to fortify their offensive ranks after a tepid start to the season, with a summer target reportedly disgruntled at their new club.
Chelsea held a vested interest in former Leeds United phenom Raphinha this summer, even agreeing a £55m deal with the player, before seeing the signature swiped from under their nose by FC Barcelona at the eleventh hour.
And now, after a multitude of subpar displays, Barca boss Xavi is reportedly at the end of his tether with the Brazilian and will grant a move away should performances not improve, according to a report from Spanish outlet Sport.
And with the prosperous fortunes of Ousmane Dembele down the right flank, the door might yet be opened for the Blues to reignite a deal that came tantalisingly close to the finish line.
At Leeds, Raphinha demonstrated the very best of his abilities, playing an integral role in the squad that cemented status in the Premier League after years of languishing in the depths below and dazzling with a blend of goals, assists and deft weaving runs.
The 26-year-old scored 17 goals and provided 12 assists across 67 outings for The Whites, including 11 goals and three assists last season, and became a touted figure with interest from a host of top European outfits.
But he has struggled to adapt to life in the Spanish La Liga, netting just twice since his summer move; Chelsea may indeed be observing his travails with a watchful eye, with his high pedigree on English soil an unequivocal fact.
His output and skills down the right flank could prove to be a valuable asset to Graham Potter’s Blues, with the eighth-placed Blues mustering just 17 goals from 14 appearances this term – the lowest of any top-ten team in the division.
As per FBref, the £44m-rated gem ranks within the top 15% of forwards for progressive passes across Europe’s top five leagues this past year – indicating a creative edge to his game that could complement the direct threat, a multi-dimensional tool wreaking havoc on Premier League defences once more.
This season, the 24-year-old has scored just one goal and assisted two more from 18 appearances, starting just five times and failing to evoke inspiration at his level.
And as per Sofascore, last season for Leeds, Raphinha averaged 2.5 shots per outing and created ten big chances, a massive improvement on Pulisic’s 0.8 shots per match and zero big chances created this term.
Furthermore, he also possesses a “magic” ability on his left foot, one that in the words of journalist Seb Stafford-Bloor “raises the temperature.”
In comparison, that dazzling ability has seldom been of Chelsea’s own American flanker and if the opportunity indeed arises, Potter must instigate a move for the 16-cap star to replace him.
The scouting team have already done their homework on the player and it’s clear he would be an upgrade on a winger perhaps expected to depart in the near future.