Leeds United attacker Raphinha could reportedly snub interest from Liverpool in order to complete a summer switch to Barcelona.
The Brazil international continued his fine form in the 2021-22 season with 11 goals and three assists in 35 Premier League appearances to help the Whites secure survival on the final day.
Raphinha now has 17 goals and 12 assists to boast from 67 appearances in a Leeds shirt since arriving from Rennes in 2020, and his contract at Elland Road runs until the summer of 2024.
A £25m exit clause would have supposedly been activated if Jesse Marsch‘s side suffered relegation from the top flight last season, but clubs will now have to negotiate a fee with Leeds.
Barcelona and Liverpool have seemingly emerged as the two frontrunners for Raphinha’s signature, but a fee in excess of £50m could be required to prise the 25-year-old away from Elland Road.
Now, Sport claims that Raphinha has earmarked Barcelona as his preferred destination and will snub interest from Liverpool in order to secure a switch to Camp Nou.
The report adds that Raphinha wants to play a leading role in Catalonia under Xavi for the 2022-23 season, and Barca chief Mateu Alemany has flown to the UK for talks with Leeds.
It is claimed that Whites CEO Angus Kinnear is demanding a fee of €65m (£55.5m) to part ways with the former Rennes man, who has already agreed personal terms with Barcelona.
Liverpool were supposedly willing to use Takumi Minamino as part of a deal to bring Raphinha to Anfield, but Jurgen Klopp has seemingly been forced to accept defeat in the race for the Brazilian.
Nevertheless, Raphinha was in no mood to add fuel to the fire surrounding his future after arriving for international duty this month, telling reporters: “I have a contract with Leeds until 2024, so my future is in the hands of Deco and Leeds.
“My mind is on the national team, on the upcoming matches and on my holidays. I have a contract with Leeds and this issue will have to be discussed with my agent. When something happens, he’ll tell me.”
Raphinha will seemingly arrive at Barcelona as a replacement for the departing Ousmane Dembele, who is set to leave as a free agent when his Camp Nou contract expires at the end of the month.
Chelsea are believed to be leading the race to sign the France international, who has also been linked with Liverpool amid speculation over a possible exit for Sadio Mane.
The Senegal international has supposedly decided that he wants to seek pastures new in the summer window amid interest from Bayern Munich, whose opening offer of £25m was swiftly rejected by Liverpool.
On the other hand, Mohamed Salah has confirmed that he will not be leaving the club this summer, but Liverpool are running the risk of losing the 29-year-old on a free transfer in 2023.