Chelsea emerge as the favourites to sign Leeds United winger Raphinha as Barcelona’s bid stalls
Chelsea have emerged favourites to sign Raphinha from Leeds United as Barcelona’s bid stalls, reports the Evening Standard. The Blues had agreed a £55 million fee with Leeds for the Brazilian, who prefers a move to the Catalunyan club.
The Brazilian has been an integral part of the Leeds squad ever since his move from the French side Stade Rennais in 2020. A fan favourite at Elland Road, he played a pivotal role last season to help the West Yorkshire club avoid relegation. And his performance caught the eyes of some clubs, most notable being Chelsea and Barcelona.
Raphinha prefers a move to Barcelona despite the club struggling to meet the valuation of Leeds. Meanwhile, Chelsea have agreed to terms with the club but is still waiting for the player. However, this could change now. The report states that, if a suitable offer does not arrive from Barcelona, Raphinha could decide on his future in the next 24 hours.
Arsenal, who were snubbed by the Brazilian, have not given up hope to bring him to the Emirates Stadium next season; but Chelsea remain the favourites should Barcelona’s bid fail to come through.
The end of the saga?
Thomas Tuchel is currently overseeing a major overhaul of his squad. He has seen key players depart and there are reports that some more could leave. The Blues are yet to make a signing this summer with pre-season beginning on Friday.
The Blues have been linked with Raphinha since last month, without any progress in their negotiations. The Brazilian can play on both sides of the wings and would make a fine addition to the Chelsea attack, considering how they struggled to score goals last season.
Apart from all this, he is already a proven Premier League player. He is aware of the challenges that the league demands and would need less time to settle down at Cobham. At just 25 years old, we could see Raphinha potentially play his prime years at Stamford Bridge, something which would be seen as a good sign by all fans and management alike.
But it is still a long way to go considering how the player has his mind made up about joining Barcelona. Perhaps after 24 hours, he will have a change of heart and Chelsea will hope it is in their favour.
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It remains to be seen what happens, but we could potentially see this saga come to an end very soon. If Raphinha does join, then he will be welcomed with open arms by the fans. If he doesn’t, the Blues could look for another alternative, but they would have to be fast.