Raphinha to Barcelona? Latest on interest in Leeds United star, 'valuation' and contract clause

Leeds United have no intention of selling Raphinha on the cheap to Barcelona this summer.

By Graham Smyth
Tuesday, 22nd March 2022, 4:19 pm

Barcelona have been linked with a £29m move for the Brazil winger but the YEP understands that there is no buy-out clause in his current contract, which runs until 2024, and it would take significantly more than that to prise him out of Elland Road.

It has not been confirmed if the contract has a relegation clause but in the eventuality that the Whites - currently seven points clear of the drop zone - fell back into the Championship then he is one of a number who would certainly need to depart to help balance the books.

Although a move to Barcelona would give the winger Champions League football, something which will lie at the heart of his ambitions having first tasted the top level of European football with Rennes, Raphinha is exhibiting no signs of wanting to leave and appears to be fully engaged with Jesse Marsch's attempts to keep the club in the Premier League. Leeds are well aware of the Spanish club's interest but are yet to receive any form of official bid.

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Barcelona are the latest European giant to show interest in the 25-year-old ahead of the summer. Raphinha has been catching the eye of Champions League outfits like Liverpool and Bayern Munich since taking the Premier League by storm following his £17m 2020 switch from Rennes.

Six top flight goals last season and a further nine this season have helped him establish himself as the star man at Elland Road and a regular in Tite's Brazil side.

Although the 25-year-old is contracted for another two years, Leeds had opened talks with his agent - former Chelsea, Porto and Barcelona man Deco - over an extension that would have given him a salary more reflective of his importance to the Whites. Those talks have not yet led to an agreement and, instead, there are increasing reports of interest from other clubs.

Barcelona would represent perhaps the most natural next move for the winger, not least because of their Champions League status and rejuvenation under Xavi. Selling to a fellow Premier League club would make less sense as a much more difficult case to make to a fanbase who will demand ambition this summer.

FULLY ENGAGED - Raphinha has shown no signs at Thorp Arch that he wants out of Leeds United as Barcelona step up their interest. Pic: Bruce Rollinson

And Deco's proximity to Barcelona president Joan Laporta - reports earlier in the year linked the former player with a South American scouting role for his former club - would certainly help grease the wheels of any potential move.

Raphinha, along with Kalvin Phillips, was the subject of attention from West Ham United in the January transfer window but there was never any chance that Leeds, still locked in a relegation battle, would let either man go midseason

After a spell of poor form Leeds' star man returned to something more akin to his best against Norwich City and was due to link up with Brazil during the current international break, but tested positive for Covid-19.

Team-mate Robin Koch has also since tested positive and withdrew from the Germany squad for their March fixtures.