Raphinha transfer: Leeds, Barcelona reach verbal agreement despite interest from Chelsea and Arsenal

Raphinha’s transfer saga is finally coming to an end as the Brazilian winger will join Barcelona against Chelsea and Arsenal, according to multiple reports. Ben Jacobs of CBS Sports confirms that Barcelona reached a verbal agreement with Leeds on Sunday for a deal worth around €75 million. Personal terms had been agreed since January.

While the deal was reached on Sunday, the paperwork will be completed on Monday, with the player flying to Barcelona for a medical this week, reports Jacobs. Chelsea’s deal was also accepted by Leeds United, but Raphinha’s heart was set on joining Barcelona as he and his agent Deco, a former Barcelona star, expected the Spanish club to make their highest bid. good.

While Barcelona’s financial issues are well-known as they have struggled to sign young talents Andreas Christensen and Franck Kessie, this is certainly not stopping them from competing for the signatures of key players. Barcelona’s initial offer of €60m guaranteed was lower than Chelsea’s initial offer, but the new deal complements Leeds United’s valuation of their player. The deal is expected to be divided into installments, but the full structure is not known at this time.

Jacobs also reports that Barcelona are set to re-sign Ousmane Dembele after the winger found his footing under Xavi. Dembele will take a 40 percent pay cut as he signs a two-year deal with the club. This pay cut will help with Barcelona’s financial woes, but more will likely be needed as they continue follows Cesar Azpilicueta.

For Leeds United, despite losing two of their stars this summer in Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips, they have done brilliantly to get over €100m to build Jesse Marsch’s squad. During his time in Yorkshire, Raphinha recorded 17 goals and 12 assists in 67 appearances in all competitions. Having already added Americans Brenden Aaronson and Tyler Adams, they have also signed Luis Sinisterra, Rasmus Kristensen, Marc Roca and Darko Gaybi. For Barcelona, ​​it’s a move that doesn’t quite close the gap with Real Madrid, but certainly puts them back in the La Liga title race.

What does the deal mean for Leeds United?

Fortunately, Leeds have had plenty of time to prepare for the loss of their star man before embarking on their pre-season tour of Australia. Raphinha’s replacement has already been lined up in the form of Sinisterra, but there will certainly be more pressure on the former Feyenoord man. With 19 goals and 11 assists in all competitions last season, Sinisterra can be electric on his day, giving Leeds an unpredictable presence. Combining with Jack Harrison in attack, he can certainly produce some exciting moments, but the transition from the Eredivisie to the Premier League is not easy.

He’ll be given every chance Marsch can fit in, but in a pinch, Aaronson could slot in as a winger as well. Both players will likely share some playing responsibilities, but the hope is that a healthy Patrick Bamford will make everyone’s job easier in attack as Raphinha certainly had more work to do than he should have. had last season.

Xavi is taking his boys

In Barcelona, ​​it is clear that president Joan Laporta trusts Xavi’s judgement. Laporta was not a fan of Dembele, hoping to sell him this summer, but Xavi was able to ensure that someone he trusts was kept. Dembele was effective in limited minutes last season, leading the team in assists with 13 in just 15 starts, and he should get quite a bit more playing alongside Raphinha.

It speaks volumes for the jersey appeal that Raphinha and Deco received for Barcelona despite economic uncertainty compared to Chelsea’s. Even with an accepted offer and the option to agree personal terms to stay in the Premier League on the table, Barcelona still won.

How will Barcelona rank?

Playing in a 4-3-3, things will be a bit fluid for Barcelona this coming season. They essentially have four starting three-point options, but one is easy to fill. With Adama Traore returning to Wolves after starting just four games and registering two assists, Raphinha’s favored right-back will be wide open. His direct style will suit the Barcelona way as no matter where he receives the ball, he will be able to drive towards goal and pick out other attackers.

Dembele’s retention gives Xavi the opportunity to rotate Pierre Emerick-Abumayang and Ferran Torres through the middle, with Torres and Dembele also sharing time on the left side of the front three. Memphis Depay could also be important if he stays at Barcelona, ​​but it seems more likely that he will move. With Champions League commitments, Gavi Paez and Ansu Fati will be in the game for more minutes if they can stay healthy with other young talents also making an impact. In depth, the team is slowly closing in on Real Madrid, especially if they can keep Frenkie de Jong to round out their midfield while they continue to pursue Robert Lewandowski.

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