Chelsea are facing a late challenge from Barcelona in their bid to sign Raphinha from Leeds.
Chelsea had looked set to win the race to sign the Brazil international after agreeing a £55m deal, with the west Londoners having beat off competition from Arsenal.
Barcelona have retained a long-standing interest in signing the 25-year-old, though the club’s financial situation has made competing with Premier League rivals difficult.
However, the Spanish side – who are understood to be Raphinha’s preferred destination – are close to finalising the sale of Frenkie de Jong to Manchester United and are also working on raising income through the sale of future merchandise and licensing rights.
Spanish journalist Gerard Romero has stated that Barcelona have a ‘strong’ chance of signing Raphinha, despite Chelsea agreeing terms with Leeds.
The Sun are reporting that the player’s representative, Deco, held talks with Barcelona on Wednesday to discuss the prospect of Raphinha moving to the Camp Nou.
Elsewhere, Fabrizio Romano has stated that personal terms have been agreed between Raphinha and Barcelona for several months, with Chelsea waiting on a final answer from the player before moving on to alternative targets.
A meeting has been scheduled between Deco and the west Londoners on Thursday, whilst Arsenal have also not given up hope of reaching an agreement but face an uphill battle to secure his signing.
Chelsea are waiting for Raphinha’s answer. Been told Deco has direct talk with Chelsea scheduled tomorrow 🚨 #Raphinha
Talks still on, after agreement with Leeds [£60m].
Barcelona and Arsenal will try until the end.
Reminder: Barça agreed personal terms with Deco 4 months ago. pic.twitter.com/yCWYRIdkRE
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) June 29, 2022
Raphinha scored 11 league goals for Leeds last season as Jesse Marsch’s side narrowly avoided relegation from the Premier League.
He looks set to be one of two major departures at Elland Road this summer with Manchester City having also agreed a deal to sign Kalvin Phillips.