Barcelona director Deco is adamant that he didn’t offer Raphinha to the La Liga giants after the Brazilian turned down moves to Arsenal and Chelsea.
Raphinha, 27, arrived at Barca from Leeds United in July 2022 in a reported €58 million deal. He was one of Europe’s most in-demand attackers at the time, with the Gunners and the Blues missing out on his signature.
Deco was Raphinha’s agent when the transfer took place and the consensus was that he’d offered the Brazil international to the Blaugrana. The former Chelsea midfielder moved to downplay this (via transfer expert Fabrizio Romano):
“Arsenal and Chelsea wanted to sign Raphinha. They were both offering way more than Barca. It was Jordi Cruyff (Barca’s sporting director) who asked me about Raphinha for the first time… I never offered Raphinha to Barca.”
Raphinha made a promising start to life at Barcelona during his debut season with the Catalan giants. He bagged 10 goals and 12 assists in 50 games across competitions, a regular starter under Xavi.
However, the Brazilian is somewhat suffering from second-season syndrome amid Barca’s disappointing performance this campaign. Lamine Yamal’s rise has complicated matters for the former Leeds winger.
Raphinha has started 13 of 20 games across competitions, posting four goals and seven assists. He’s currently sidelined with a muscle injury and faces an uphill battle in reclaiming his place from Yamal.
Chelsea reportedly reignite their interest in Barcelona star Raphinha
Raphinha’s troublesome sophomore campaign with the Blaugrana has led to uncertainty over his future. He has three years left on his contract but is no longer regarded as an undisputed starter with the La Liga giants.
Spanish outlet Fichajes (via The Hard Tackle) reports that Chelsea are interested once again. The Blues have joined Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur in getting in touch with Barcelona about a potential deal.
Barca value the former Sporting CP winger at €50 million which is close to the fee they paid for his services two years ago. That valuation could be an issue for the west Londoners given they’ve spent over £1 billion (€1.17 billion) under Todd Boehly’s co-ownership.
The Premier League heavyweights are also well-stocked in attack. Mauricio Pochettino has the likes of Cole Palmer, Noni Madueke, Raheem Sterling, and Mykhaylo Mudryk to call upon.
However, it’s been a difficult season for Chelsea, plagued with inconsistency, especially out wide. Mudryk in particular has struggled since arriving at Stamford Bridge in January 2022.