Raphinha has given his word to Barcelona over a summer transfer from Leeds United and will sign a five-year contract, according to reports in Spain.
Leeds are bracing themselves for the potential departure of their star winger in the summer. He has given them two seasons of services, contributing 15 goals and 12 assists from 59 appearances. The Brazilian has been a worthy wearer of the number 10 shirt at Elland Road.
But there has long been an awareness in West Yorkshire that Raphinha will not stick around forever. About to enter the final two years of his contract, it could be the prime opportunity for Leeds to cash in this summer.
Clubs with European football on offer have been sniffing around. There have been links with Liverpool, for example, which is backed up by Diario Sport.
However, the same source writes that Raphinha has found an “agreement” with Barcelona. After doing so, he is willing to wait and “ignore” other suitors.
On the table is a contract offer until 2027 and the lure of being a regular starter if Ousmane Dembele leaves, as expected, at the end of his own contract in June.
The report describes Raphinha and Barcelona as being “hand in hand” when it comes to their approach going forward. It will be up to the La Liga club to close a deal with Leeds.
Raphinha will retain his commitment to his current cause for the time being. After this season, though – by the end of which he will hope to have helped the Whites avoid relegation – it could be the end of a chapter.
Leeds to take Barcelona defender in return?
Sport remind that Barcelona have already had an opening offer of €35m (£29.1m) turned down by Leeds. They will come back in, and there is a possibility they will offer defender Oscar Mingueza as a makeweight (potentially just on loan).
Mingueza came through the Barcelona academy ranks and has made more than 50 appearances for the first team. The 22-year-old can play anywhere across the defence, but is mainly a centre-half.
Leeds would therefore have to look elsewhere for a direct Raphinha replacement, but being able to strengthen their backline in the process of selling their star man may sweeten the deal.