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Thursday, August 18, 2022

Barcelona close to signing Leeds forward Raphinha

Raphinha scored the opener from the penalty spot in Leeds’ final game of last season, when they won at Brentford to preserve their top-flight status/ Photo credit: Getty Images

Leeds United forward Raphinha is set to join Barcelona after the two clubs agreed a deal.

The move for the 25-year-old Brazil playmaker is reportedly worth an initial 58m euros (£49m).

Both clubs announced “an agreement in principle” had been reached, pending the player passing a medical.

In two seasons at Elland Road Raphinha played in 65 Premier League games, scoring 17 goals and providing 12 assists.

Leeds head coach Jesse Marsch had earlier confirmed the player was leaving.

“I’m hopeful for him to get this deal done because I know it’s his dream to play for Barcelona,” Marsch said during the club’s tour of Australia.

The player looked set for a move to Chelsea before Barcelona expressed interest in him.

Premier League sides Arsenal and Spurs were also understood to have been keen on the former Rennes player but his preferred choice has always been the Catalan club.

Marsch said the money for Raphinha and from the sale of midfielder Kalvin Phillips to Manchester City “allows us to take the club on the next steps we need to go in the future”.

It is understood the fee for Raphina’s move to the Nou Camp could eventually rise to 65m euros (£54.7m) with add-ons.

Raphinha moved to Leeds from French side Rennes for £17m in 2020 and has two years left on his contract at Elland Road. The French club are believed to be due a sell-on fee based on the profit Leeds make.

Marsch omitted Raphinha from the Whites’ travelling party for a three-game tour of Australia in the hope his future could be resolved swiftly.

The winger did however return to training at the club’s Thorp Arch training ground with the remainder of the squad.

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