Chelsea were “leading the race” to sign Leeds winger Raphinha before they were hit by sanctions, according to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano.
The Italian journalist now claims that Barcelona are the favourites to sign the Brazilian international after holding discussions with the player’s agent:
Raphinha would be open to join Barcelona in the summer, positive talks between Deco and the club since March 9 – no discussions between clubs yet, as Barça will wait for Leeds situation to be clarified. 🇧🇷 #FCB
Chelsea were leading the race for Raphinha before the sanctions.
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) March 23, 2022
It was reported last month that the Blues were battling Barca and Arsenal for Raphinha’s signature, with it being revealed that the 25-year-old has two release clauses in his contract.
The winger will be available for only €25m (£21m) if Leeds are relegated, while he can be signed for €75m (£62.5m) were his team to remain in the top flight this season.
Liverpool have also been heavily linked with Raphinha, with his agent having confirmed their interest last year, but it seems as if the Brazilian may be leaving the Premier League. Whether Barcelona can match his buyout fee could, however, depend on whether Leeds stay up, so we shall see what happens.