Barcelona and Leeds are widely reported to have finally agreed terms over the Raphinha transfer – and the long-running saga could finally come to a close this week.
The Brazilian star has been the subject of intense speculation all summer and the chase for his signature long and hard. After lighting up Elland Road for the past two seasons, he has made no secret of his desire to play at a higher level. Alongside his agent Deco, the two men have always been clear that Barcelona was their first choice.
Agreeing that deal, though, has been far from easy. Barcelona’s crippling debts, together with Leeds’ £65m valuation of their star, ensured they were, at times, miles apart on his price.
Indeed, their first offer back in May comprised just £46.7m (€55m) – some £19m short of Leeds’ asking price.
Their inability to reach a deal also allowed other suitors to come sniffing. Arsenal’s interest was quickly dismissed out of hand; a lack of Champions League football costing them.
However, Chelsea leapt right into the race by offering a package that Leeds did deem acceptable. Offering north of £55m up front, they also included add-ons believed to take the deal closer to the £65m asking price.
Talks with Chelsea then began, but despitea handsome salary offer from new Blues owner Todd Boehly, the player did not sign on the dotted line.
Truth be told, Raphinha only wanted Barcelona and he charged Deco with pushing them one more time.
That prompted them to submit a second offer for the player on Friday. That reportedly matched Chelsea’s offer, though had a vastly reduced downpayment versus the Blues.
Again, Leeds declined the offer, standing their ground and knowing Chelsea offered the better deal.
Ultimately, Raphinha and Deco opted to set an ultimatum to Barcelona in an effort to wrap the saga up.
Barcelona agreement on Raphinha transfer reached
And now, late on Sunday evening, the two clubs have reportedly come to an agreement over the Raphinha transfer. Multiple reports in Spain, as well as CBS Sports in America and the Daily Mail all claim Barcelona and Leeds are in agreement.
They have agreed to pay Leeds a downpayment of £55m, with a further £8m in add-ons and bonuses. That will take the 25-year-old’s total sale to £63m – a deal the Whites are finally happy to accept.
Staying behind to train alone at Leeds’ Thorp Arch training base while the rest of the squad travelled to Australia, the player is now due to arrive in Catalonia later on Monday to finalise the deal.
He has already agreed personal terms worth around £101,000 a week (€120,000 a week) and on a deal to 2027. Chelsea’s offer to the player was worth an estimated £120,000 a week – but the player only ever wanted Barcelona.
Reports in Spain believe he will take a medical later on Monday. And , if all goes to plan, Raphinha could be presented as a Barcelona player before the end of the week.
Incredibly, Barcelona are also agreeing a deal to extend Ousmane Dembele’s stay too. He will reportedly sign a new deal, but with a 40% wages cut.
Leeds get their Raphinha valuation
After months of speculation and transfer deliberations, Leeds United and Raphinha can (almost) celebrate an end to the saga. Having seen Jack Grealish transfer for a British record £100m last summer, the Whites knew their valuation of Raphinha and stuck by it.
And given Kalvin Phillips was sold for a mere £42m to Manchester City, there may have been fears they would let Raphinha go on the cheap too.
Ultimately though, Chelsea’s strong interest in also securing the signing has helped Leeds achieve their valuation.
The issue now for Leeds is to ensure that Barcelona are good on their word. Leeds will want to guarantees that Barcelona are good on their word before officially letting the player depart.
They have debts estimated to be worth anything between £500m – £800m depending on what you read.
However, the sale of a percentage of their TV right appears to have given them the cash impetus they require.
The Whites will now look to spend the money themselves on a new striker. Having been active in the window so far, a striker is the last big signing they require.
To that end, Leeds are just £4m short on an opening offer for PSG’s Arnaud Kalimuendo.