Chelsea have emerged as the new favourites to sign Leeds winger Raphinha after offering a deal worth up to £65m including add-ons for the Brazil international.
The Blues were already keeping tabs on the player’s situation and have suddenly moved a step ahead of the competition, which has included Barcelona and Arsenal.
Barcelona have been Raphinha’s preferred destination so far, but Meziesblog can reveal the Catalans have informed Leeds that they won’t be able to match the numbers now on the table, putting them out of contention for his signature. Finances have remained a concern for the Spanish club with regard to transfers this summer and business may yet be dependent on player sales.
Arsenal had also submitted an offer for the Brazilian in an attempt to steal a march on Barça. But that bid fell short of Leeds’ valuation and was immediately rejected.
The Gunners are now considering whether to increase their offer in light of Chelsea’s move.
Raphinha managed 11 goals and three assists in the Premier League last season, even though Leeds were fighting at the wrong end of the table.
Chelsea are already in talks with Ousmane Demebele, who is set to become a free agent in a matter of days when his Barcelona contract expires. Discussions are also ongoing with Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling in what is expected to be a busy summer at Stamford Bridge.