Leeds United supporters look set to have their worst fears realised, with prized asset Raphinha looking increasingly likely to be moving on this summer.
As per The Athletic, the Brazilian is the subject of interest from fellow Premier League sides Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, with FA Cup finalists Chelsea also in the running despite their preference to do a deal for Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele.
The report suggests that the Elland Road are not set to stand in the 25-year-old’s way should he wish to move on in the current window, with the Yorkshire side willing to strike a deal with any interested party if their valuation is met – with that figure believed to be around £45m.
The belief is that Jesse Marsch and co have now accepted that the former Rennes man won’t sign a new deal at the club – albeit despite the player not outright demanding an exit – with the nine-cap international harbouring ambitions of featuring in European competition.
That news will come as a crushing blow to those of a Leeds persuasion, with the club seemingly set to lose one of their most important and most loved assets this summer, with it hard to see the Whites managing to fend off interest from some of the division’s biggest and richest sides.
There is the saving grace that they will be able to recoup a fairly sizeable sum with any sale, having run the risk of losing the £63k-per-week gem for just £25m had they suffered relegation last term, due to a reported clause in his contract.
The fact that Marsch’s men were able to stave off the drop was no doubt aided by the impressive form of the £40.5m-rated playmaker, as he netted 11 times in the top-flight during the 2021/22 campaign, including a vital final day spot-kick in the dramatic victory over Brentford.
Since his £17m switch from France two years ago, the 5 foot 9 ace has contributed 17 goals and 12 assists in 65 Premier League appearances, with no Leeds player having recorded more than his 14 goals and assists last season.
That illustrates just how integral Raphinha has been to both his current boss and the American’s predecessor Marcelo Bielsa, with any potential departure set to leave behind a sizeable void in the current squad.
Not just a creative, goalscoring presence, the one-time Sporting CP man has also emerged as something of a fan’s favourite for his passionate approach, epitomised by his jubilant post-match celebrations with the away support following that win over the Bees.
Also dubbed a “pleasure to watch” by pundit Joe Cole, the gifted wide man is the type of player that brings excitement to any crowd, with supporters set to be devastated if he is to depart before the start of next term.