Barcelona reportedly in talks with Raphinha as he declines a new contract
Tuesday, 22nd Mar 2022 23:14 by Tim Whelan
There have been numerous reports that the Catalan giants have identified Raphinha as one of their top transfer targets for the summer, but there have been some very different transfer fees bandied about.
The Brazilian’s current contract runs to the summer of 2024, but Leeds have been trying to get him to sign an extension, but more in the hope of maximising an incoming transfer fee than any realistic expectation that the 25 year-old will commit himself to staying for more than another two seasons. He will know that the next contract will cover the peak years of his career, which he will want to spend at the highest level possible.
Had Leeds been able to kick on from last season's 9th place finish he might have thought it was possible that Champions League football would return to Elland Road by the middle of the decade. But now he will probably think that his talents would be better suited to a side who are challenging for the major trophies, which sadly isn’t us.
Leeds are willing to double his wages, but won’t reduce his current release clause, which currently stands at £70m. And that is the sticking point, because Raphinha thinks that high fee is deterring clubs who might be interested in signing him, so it doesn’t look like we’re going to get that deal over the line. Brazilian outlet UOL have claimed he has rejected the contract offer.
His profile was raised considerably by his breakthrough into Brazil’s national side, and several media outlets have reported that Barcelona are keen on making a bid, but have yet to make a formal approach to Leeds. The player’s agent Deco is a former Barca player, and Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano has reported that Deco has already called in at the Camp Nou for talks, though it would be nice if they could have the decency to go through the proper channels.
But it’s believed that Barca think the release clause amount is too high, and Spanish daily sports newspaper Marca have claimed that Raphinha’s current market value is more like £33.2million. Barcelona’s recent financial difficulties were eased last month by a massive naming rights and sponsorship deal with Spotify, but could still struggle to find the full £70m.
What’s more concerning is the suggestion that Raphinha’s current contract has a relegation clause, and according to Sportitalia journalist Gianluigi Longari the release fee would drop to a mere £20.8million if we go down. Our best hope then would be for a bidding war to start between several European giants, which could take the fee above that level.
Liverpool might be interested if they can’t agree a new contract with Mo Salah, as Raphinha plays in a similar position on the right. Bayern have also been mentioned, as have Chelsea, but the Stanford Bridge mob would have to be bought out before that became a possibility.
At least we’d still have made a profit on the £17million we paid Rennes at the start of last season, which would ease the pain of his departure, as long as the transfer fee was re-invested in the playing squad.
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