Chelsea are reportedly leading Barcelona in the race to lead Leeds United and Brazil winger Raphinha in the summer transfer window.

According to Italian journalist Gianluigi Longari on Football Transfers, Chelsea have emerged as the frontrunners to secure the signing of Leeds United attacker Raphinha, who is also on the radar of Barcelona.

Raphinha signed for Leeds from French club Rennes in a €20 million deal in 2020. The 25-year-old enjoyed a stunning debut season with the Whites, finishing with six goals and nine assists from 30 Premier League outings. He has continued in the same vein of form this term, having already netted nine goals in 22 league outings.

Raphinha’s growth at Elland Road over the past 18 months has not gone unnoticed, with clubs across Europe taking a keen interest in him. Bayern Munich had been heavily linked with a move for the Brazilian in the January transfer window, while West Ham United had a bid rejected for the winger.

There had been reports that the attacker was in talks to sign a new contract, but it has recently been claimed that Raphinha will snub any approaches over an extension as he wishes to listen to offers from other clubs in Europe. Chelsea are strongly interested in signing Raphinha, while Barcelona are also keen.

Chelsea’s search for a new winger potentially stems from the uncertain future surrounding Christian Pulisic. The USMNT international has struggled for consistency at Stamford Bridge since he arrived in 2019 and has gradually fallen down the pecking order. He had been linked with a January switch away from the club but has stayed put, although that could change in the summer.

In such a case, Raphinha could potentially be seen as a replacement for Pulisic and possibly even an upgrade owing to his form in the Premier League since joining Leeds.

Barcelona, meanwhile, are looking at Raphinha as a replacement for Ousmane Dembele, who is set to depart at the end of the season when his contract expires. Interestingly enough, the Frenchman has also been linked with a move to Chelsea, but other clubs such as Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and Juventus are also in the fray.

The report adds that Barcelona might be unable to afford the signing of Raphinha as they have financial troubles and will need to ensure qualification for the Champions League to stand a chance of landing the Brazilian. It has put Chelsea in the driving seat to sign the winger, who has a release clause worth €75 million, which will  fall to €25 million if Leeds are relegated.

Currently in 15th position in the Premier League, the Whites are just five points clear of the drop zone and could be dragged further down if they do not turn things around. Raphinha is a key player and they would be reluctant to see him go, but should a big offer come along, there could be an exit on the cards.

Comments 1

  1. Beny says:

    Which player in his right mind prefers chelsea to barcelona!!

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