Mike McGrath has dropped an update on the future of Leeds United winger Raphinha.
In a recent post on Twitter, The Telegraph journalist revealed that, despite reports claiming that Barcelona were planning to hold off their negotiations for the 25-year-old until it became clear which league Leeds will be participating in next season, this is in fact not the case, with Xavi’s side now believed to have stepped up their interest in the Brazil international – with the LaLiga side planning on initiating transfer talks with the Whites imminently.
In his tweet, McGrath said: “Barca have stepped up [their] bid to land Raphinha in the summer, planning on imminent talks over the deal for the LUFC [player] in the event of his club staying in Premier League or not.”
While the vast majority of Leeds supporters are more than likely resigned to the fact that Raphinha will be moving onto pastures new this summer – something that is evident from a recent poll ran on Football FanCast – the news that Barca are now hoping to secure a deal for the winger in the near future will nevertheless have left the Elland Road faithful devastated.
Indeed, the 25-year-old has arguably proven himself to be one of the club’s best signings over the past 20 years, with the £17m 2020 arrival having scored 16 goals and registered 12 assists over his 63 appearances for the Whites.
And, despite Leeds’ struggles this season, it has been over the winger’s 31 Premier League appearances in 2021/22 in which Raphinha has truly proven his ability at the highest level, with the £40.5m-rated forward bagging ten goals, providing three assists and creating nine big chances for his teammates, as well as taking an average of 2.5 shots, making two key passes and completing two dribbles per game.
These returns have seen the £63k-per-week winger average a highly impressive SofaScore match rating of 6.95, ranking him as Jesse Marsch’s second-best outfielder in the top flight of English football.
As such, while Raphinha’s potential £60m exit from Elland Road would undoubtedly represent fantastic transfer business by Victor Orta, the prospect of losing a player of the Brazilian’s ability in the coming weeks will nevertheless be a devastating thought for supporters of the Whites.