Just as time waits for no man, Raphinha’s Premier League suitors will not wait for Barcelona to get their house in order before making bids. Arsenal broke cover on Tuesday night with a first formal bid of the summer sent into Elland Road.
The offer was understood to have been swiftly rejected by the Whites and they now await either a second Gunners bid or opening offers from some of the other interested parties. The Spanish giants are still considered the favourites, but Leeds don’t deal in sentimentality.
Deco’s links with the Nou Camp can be as strong as he likes. Raphinha can want Champions League football with the team of his idol Ronaldinho as much as he wants. That’s not going to cut the mustard with Barcelona’s finances.
They need to find the money which brings Leeds to the table and in the meantime, they will sweat on what other clubs are doing. As The Athletic reported Arsenal’s bid, Samuel Eto’o was innocently posting a picture of himself with friends on Instagram.
Deco and Joan Laporta were sat with their old pal around a table as they no doubt reflected on the glory days under Frank Rijkaard. The timing of the image neatly summed up the mountain everyone outside Catalonia has to climb.
While Edu was meekly testing Victor Orta’s resolve with a derisory offer, Laporta was knocking back drinks with Raphinha’s agent. There are levels to this game and Barca will back themselves to have the high score when it matters this summer.
The weekend reports of Laporta reassuring Raphinha underlined some uneasiness about how long this was all taking. Talk of rival clubs actively bidding for the Brazilian will not make Barcelona feel any calmer.
They will rely on their relationship with Deco and pray that link withstands the stresses and strains of offers from Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur or Arsenal. Ousmane Dembele’s contract expires in eight days and Blaugrana will hope that’s the starting pistol in this business.