Leeds United transfer state of play - a low bid, Raphinha's conduct and a flirting midfielder

Leeds United have reiterated their stance on Brazilian star Raphinha after receiving a bid from Arsenal that was too low to even be given consideration.

By Graham Smyth
Wednesday, 22nd June 2022, 1:08 pm

The Gunners made their move on Tuesday, presenting what is the first bid on the table for any of Leeds' star players this summer, but it fell way short of the Elland Road valuation of the Selecao international regular. The Whites have what they consider to be a good relationship with Arsenal but were somewhat baffled by the Gunners' opening offer.

Leeds have made it clear since news of Barcelona's interest in Raphinha first broke that they would not let the 25-year-old go on the cheap, emboldened by the two years left on his contract and the fact that, to date, he has made no official request to leave.

Whites director of football Victor Orta has been in contact with Raphinha since the 2021/22 season finished and the winger is currently away on holiday having completed his latest round of international duties. Leeds have been impressed with his conduct, both in remaining fully engaged in the relegation fight right up to the last game of the season and in refusing to kick up a fuss about his personal future and ambitions to play at the highest level of European club football. Raphinha won and scored a vital penalty at Brentford on the final day of the campaign to help Leeds stay in the Premier League and showed with his celebrations and a pitch-length prayer walk on his knees just how much it meant to him. Had Leeds gone down, a relegation clause in his contract would have opened the door to a cut-price move to Barcelona yet there was never any sense of him downing tools as the dog fight neared its dramatic conclusion.

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By securing their top flight status Leeds have been able to take a strong stance on the transfer window and their star men Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips, for whom there is interest from Manchester City and PSG but still no official bids. While Leeds insist they would not ask for unrealistic fees should either man want to leave for a Champions League club or a move too good to turn down, neither need to be sold on the cheap, which has the potential to rule Barcelona out of the running for Raphinha.

Leeds' own transfer business is still expected to bring in a striker to bolster Jesse Marsch's attacking options this summer and they will move to replace Raphinha or Phillips if they depart. The YEP understands that while Orta has long admired both RB Salzburg's Mohamed Camara, whose flirtatious social media interactions with Whites supporters has given rise to speculation that he is being lined up for a move much in the same way that Rodrigo De Paul did two summers ago, and RB Leipzig's Tyler Adams, neither are currently considered priority targets - especially while Phillips remains in place. Orta also has other options in mind for the defensive midfield role if he has to respond to Phillips' exit. Both Camara and Adams are well known to Marsch, who coached the former at Salzburg and the latter at New York Red Bulls and Leipzig. This summer has already reunited the American head coach with a pair of his former players, in Brenden Aaronson and Rasmus Kristensen, who were bought from Salzburg for fees of £25m and £10m respectively. Marc Roca, a Spanish midfielder from Bayern Munich, completed a hat-trick of early signings by Orta.

On Monday a group of Marsch's squad, those who were not involved in international action at the end of the season, will report for pre-season testing, with the international contingent returning a week later on July 4.

Leeds will then head out to Australia for their pre-season tour, with domestic friendlies likely to take place both before and after the trip.

NO DEAL - Arsenal's initial bid for Leeds United winger Raphinha was too low to even be considered at Elland Road. Pic: Getty