Raphinha has agreed personal terms on a summer transfer to Barcelona, GOAL has learned, but negotiations with Leeds have been put on hold until the end of the season as both clubs have more pressing concerns at present.
Those at Elland Road are still sweating on their Premier League status, with one more crucial fixture left to take in during their battle to beat the drop, while directors at Camp Nou are working on freeing up space in Xavi’s squad and salary cap for further reinforcements to be drafted in.
It is understood that a deal with Brazil international Raphinha is being lined up, on a contract that will see his salary doubled, with terms that will take him through to 2027 now drawn up in Catalunya.
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Will Raphinha leave Leeds for Barcelona?
The 25-year-old forward, who has seven senior caps to his name, is represented by former Barca star Deco – who he has been working with since June 2021.
Contact with Leeds has been made through the ex-Portugal international, with the Whites making it clear that they will only enter into full discussions once their domestic campaign has come to a close following a trip to Brentford on Sunday.
Raphinha will be hoping to steer his current club to safety, but a significant reduction in his release clause will be triggered if a side managed by American coach Jesse Marsch suffer relegation out of the English top flight.
If Leeds were to tumble into the Championship, then Barca would be able to acquire the highly-rated South American for €25 million (£21m/$26m).
The Liga giants are yet to put an official offer on the table, but Raphinha has made it clear to those in West Yorkshire that he wants to leave – with efforts to get him tied down on a new contract having come to nothing.
Can Barcelona complete a deal for Raphinha?
Raphinha now his heart set on making a move to Barcelona, but there are a number of hurdles to clear before any transfer can be pushed through.
Xavi has admitted as much over recent weeks, with the Blaugrana boss stating that departures need to be sanctioned over the summer before arrivals can be welcomed through the doors.
The plan is, having already offloaded Philippe Coutinho to Aston Villa on a permanent basis, to get more big earners off the books in the coming weeks – with the potential there for the likes of Samuel Umtiti, Clement Lenglet, Neto and Frenkie de Jong to be offloaded, while Ousmane Dembele is heading towards free agency.
Without bringing in funds and reducing their wage bill, Barca will be unable to register those that they have their eye on.
Raphinha is now waiting in the wings, while personal terms have also been agreed with AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie and Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen – two players that will be out of contract at the end of the 2021-22 and can be acquired without the need for a fee to change hands.