Sport

Chelsea suffer transfer blow in pursuit of ‘next Sadio Mane’ as Barcelona ‘agree personal terms’

Chelsea have been long term admirers of Leeds United winger Raphinha but appear to be trailing Barcelona in the race for his signature

Chelsea transfer target Raphinha has reportedly agreed personal terms with Barcelona ahead of a summer transfer. However, negotiations have been put on hold between the Spanish giants and Leeds, with the fee to be paid for the 25-year-old likely to depend on whether or not Jesse Marsch’s side survive in the Premier League.

Heading into the final weekend of the season, Leeds are scrapping to avoid the drop and currently sit one place and one point above the relegation zone, although both Everton and Burnley have a game in hand. It was reported earlier this season that a release clause will become active if Leeds go down.

If Marsch and Leeds are unsuccessful in their attempts to avoid the drop, they could lose their star man for just £25 million.

With Thomas Tuchel eager to strengthen his attacking options this summer, it is not too much of a surprise to see the Blues linked with Raphinha. However, a latest report from Goal indicates that Barcelona are leading the charge.

On Monday, transfer expert Fabrizio Romano provided an update on Chelsea’s pursuit of the Brazilian, writing in his Caught Offside column: “Certainly English clubs like Newcastle have explored the Raphinha idea in recent months but they know that the player’s priority is now Barcelona.

Chelsea had been pushing for Raphinha as summer target since January, but sanctions have frozen negotiations and Barca are now leading the race.”

Since signing for Leeds in the summer of 2020 from Stade Rennes, Raphinha has been one of the Premier League’s most exciting attacking talents. He has since scored 16 goals in 66 matches for the Whites, 10 of which have come in the current, relegation-threatened campaign.

Shortly after his arrival, Raphinha came in for praise from Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher. While analysing a recent performance of the winger’s, the Liverpool legend went as far as to compare him to the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

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