Leeds United have had to fend off their first official bid for Raphinha after Arsenal submitted their first offer yesterday evening (Tuesday, June 21). The Whites are to set to reject the opening offer which – while the exact amount is unknown – is thought to be some way off Leeds’ valuation of ?60million.
It is rare that first offers are accepted and the Gunners will no doubt return with improved offers, while the intensity of their approach may kick Barcelona into gear. The Nou Camp has been the preferred destination for Raphinha and his agent, Deco, but the Spanish giants have gone quiet as the Whites remain firm on their financial demands.
Pressure over the sale of Raphinha will intensify and while the winger himself is unlikely to cause trouble in forcing a move, those in charge at Elland Road are sympathetic to their player’s dream of playing on the European stage and challenging for titles. The 25-year-old has often remained coy when discussing his future amid all the speculation, and has often shifted the burden of any talk to his agent.
He did exactly that at the start of June, when asked about his future while on international duty with Brazil – the winger also cited regular playing time as a significant factor in any summer decisions.
“Knowing that there are less than six months left for the Cup, you have to be active in the clubs, that weighs on the decision, but I trust my potential.” Raphinha said, as reported by Globo. “If it’s to stay or leave, I’ll do my best, look for my space and I’ll try to be well for the World Cup.
“I have a contract with Leeds until 2024, my future is in the hands of Deco and Leeds, I have my mind on the national team, on the game and also on my vacation, we need a vacation. I have a contract with Leeds and this issue is resolved by my manager, when something is right, he sends [it to] me.”
And while Catalan club Barcelona have been reported to be the player’s favoured destination, the Brazilian’s dream growing up was Premier League football.
“I’d be watching the Prem with my dad on the free-to-air channels. Henry was flying, man. The runs, the finishes, it was crazy. I also remember that the stadiums were always full.” He wrote in his Player’s Tribune piece in August 2021. “The songs, the shouts. The noise. I can’t remember the details, but I was probably sitting in a run-down bar somewhere in Restinga when I made the vow. One day I’m going to play there.”
And in an interview with FourFourTwo , he said: “Believe it or not, English football has always been my number one target. As long ago as I can remember, when I started watching football on TV, the Premier League was there. I enjoy watching English games, because it’s a special league full of tradition, great clubs, managers and players. It’s also competitive, as there are so many top quality teams.”