Leeds stance on Raphinha swap deal as cash-strapped Barcelona weigh up new price-tag

Marsch 'always believed' Leeds would stay up

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Leeds United are not keen on the prospect of a Barcelona swap deal involving Raphinha, according to reports. Keeping hold of the Brazilian could prove tough if the Catalan side firm up their interest, but with money still tight at the Camp Nou, Xavi and co are weighing up whether to cough up for the boosted price-tag after the Whites secured Premier League football on the final day of the season. 

Raphinha played a huge role in firing Leeds to safety last campaign as his growing pool of admirers watched on. Barcelona are thought to be among them, and they were supposedly ready to pounce on a cut-price £25million deal if the Whites were relegated, courtesy of a clause in his contract. 

But Raphinha’s goal against Brentford, which effectively kept Leeds in the top-flight, has seen his price-tag double. Mundo Deportivo claim La Blaugrana are now fully aware that a swoop for the tricky winger would set them back at least £47m, which they may not be able to stomach based on recent financial troubles. 

As such, Xavi may come back to the negotiating table armed with a swap proposal, but the report also states that Leeds have not ask for any player to be involved. Instead, the Whites are ‘denying the existence’ of conversations between Raphinha and Barca while the Spanish side get their balance sheet in check. 

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New details suggest that Barcelona are even having trouble renewing Sergi Roberto’s contract, let alone that of Ousmane Dembele who is seemingly on the brink of leaving. Shelling out almost £50m for Raphinha could therefore be a longshot unless Barca are prepared to slash the asking price by throwing a player into the mix, and one that could tempt Leeds to change their tune. 

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Up to 10 players could be on the chopping block under Xavi this summer, several of which may be of interest to Jesse Marsch and his coaching staff. Marsch’s predecessor in the Leeds dugout, Marcelo Bielsa, was reportedly interested in Riqui Puig who is among the group ready to be auctioned off in Spain.

Leeds have already got their summer recruitment underway, with a deal for RB Salzburg attacking midfielder Brenden Aaronson set to be completed on July 1. He and Marsch have already worked together before, while there is also talk of rejuvanating the front-line by luring in Southampton’s Che Adams. 

Player sales may be needed if Marsch’s spending spree stretches long into the summer, and there are not many bigger cash cows in the Leeds squad than Raphinha. Former Aston Villa star Gabby Agbonlahor believes that even if a swap deal doesn’t materialise, the Whites could be sitting pretty off the back of a lucrative sale.

“Raphinha will still be wanting to go this summer, there will be no change on that front,” he told Football Insider. “If he goes they’ve got to invest that money wisely. They can get at least £50m, 100 per cent. Maybe £60m or £70m because he’s a top, top winger.

“There is talk of Barcelona wanting him so they’ve got to pay up. Leeds have some top, top players ready if he does go so they can improve that squad of players. Next season could be even harder than this one.”

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