Chelsea fought tooth and nail to sign Raphinha last summer and even agreed a fee with Leeds United for him. But the Brazilian instead preferred to move to Barcelona and dug his heels in to engineer his dream move, refusing to agree personal terms with Chelsea.
A year after his £55m transfer to Camp Nou, Raphinha is considering leaving Barca. The 26-year-old has been brilliant this season, managing 10 goals and 11 assists in all competitions. In the second half of the campaign, he has been the side’s best player by a fair margin, stepping up just in the right moment after Ousmane Dembele and Pedri were ruled out for lengthy spells on the sidelines.
However, according to Spanish outlet SPORT, Raphinha fears his playing minutes will be reduced next season, as Dembele is viewed as Xavi’s preferred option on the right wing. Further, it is added that the prospect of Lionel Messi’s return is also influencing his plans for the future.
If Messi returns, he’ll be an undisputed starter, most likely from the right side of the attack. This will leave Dembele and Raphinha to compete for the bench role as the Argentine’s understudy or the left-wing position, which doesn’t suit either of the two.
Barcelona superstar considering leaving – Chelsea and Arsenal are interested
The Blaugrana’s interest in signing Messi isn’t a secret anymore, and neither is the fact that they still have to meet La Liga’s financial fair play rules. As such, the exit of Raphinha could prove to be beneficial for both the player and the club.
Premier League clubs Chelsea and Arsenal are still interested in the former Leeds man and could hand him a lifeline in the summer. Newcastle are also understood to be interested in signing him. Earlier this week, it was reported the Magpies are looking to make an €80m (£71/$89m) bid for Raphinha.