Leeds United are facing a battle to keep star winger Raphinha with Arsenal now joining the list of interested suitors, according to a source.
The Brazil star has been impressive for the relegation-threatened side this season. His nine-goal haul, along with three assists in 27 Premier League games has alerted a number of clubs across Europe, including Barcelona. The Camp Nou outfit have reportedly made a contract offer to the 25-year-old, whose contract runs until 2024.
However, TEAMtalk understands Barca have not made a formal offer to the Elland Road club.
They have though publicly declared their interest in the winger, with Joan Laporta labelling Raphinha “a great player”.
That courtship may well have alarm bells ringing at Elland Road. But there is rival interest from the Gunners, according to Fabrizio Romano.
The Italian reporter told his Here We Go podcast that Arsenal have made an official enquiry to Leeds United.
Edu and Co have asked for information on the former Rennes man, who cost Leeds £17m, plus add-ons in October 2020.
Barca are still believes to be heading the queue for the player, but Arsenal are waiting in the wings ready to pounce.
Leeds have not given up hope of keeping the player. They previously held talks with his agent Deco just before Christmas over a contract extension.
The money in question would likely see Raphinha become their first £100,000- a-week player. But no more talks will be scheduled now until Leeds ensure their Premier League survival – that is the number one priority.
Raphinha has no Prem contract clause
Victor Orta emphasised that speaking to Radio Marca.
“Fortunately, Raphinha’s career-management is led by a top-level player – Deco. He knows how to handle it. I have had several conversations with Deco. He helps, Deco. There are others who don’t, Deco has helped,” said Orta this week.
“Deco knows that the goal of the player is to save the team and stay in the Premier League. Everything that is of the future will come.”
Orta ruled out any clause in the player’s deal if Leeds stay in the Premier League. Instead his future will revolve around interested suitors coming up with the money that Leeds believe he is worth.
And the €35m that Barcelona are armed with will not cut the mustard with Orta and Leeds. Instead the West Yorkshire side are believed to be looking at an offer in excess of £60m for them to think about a genuine sale.
Whether Arsenal will commit that kind of money remains unclear, but they are watching proceedings with interest.