As transfer windows go, this has been one of the most hectic in Leeds United’s recent history – and we’ve only just entered July!
The Whites have already signed three players for a combined £50 million, while hometown hero Kalvin Phillips has now eventually departed for Manchester City in a transfer worth £45 million.
There is one matter that rumbles on though, and that’s the situation surrounding Raphinha.
It’s still widely expected the Brazilian international will leave Leeds at some point this summer, but for the first time there is a thought that we may not have seen the last of the skillful winger in a white shirt.
With Barcelona still struggling to rustle up enough pennies to meet United’s £60 million valuation of their player of the season, many eyebrows were raised this week when a story emerged in ESPN claiming Raphinha has told his agent Deco it’s Barcelona or bust.
In essence, and the best way to word this from a Leeds United point of view, is that Raphinha would rather stay at Leeds than join Chelsea – the only club so far to have an offer accepted for the former Sporting Lisbon and Rennes player.
But if the reports are to believed, ‘Raph’ has given the Blues a frim ‘no’ and is so intent on a move to Barca, he has no qualms about waiting another season for his dream move to materialise.
It’s believed Raphinha believes a move to Chelsea or another ‘big team’ this summer could confuse matters and deny him his Nou Camp dream, so he is taking no chances.
So where does that leave Leeds?
The Whites are about to secure two more huge signings in the shape of Tyler Adams and, more importantly in relation to this story, Feyenoord winger Luis Sinisterra.
It’s expected the Columbian will cost around £25 million, a significant sum to pay if Raphinha doesn’t depart this summer, and with Jack Harrison and Dan James also waiting in the wings, it makes United’s wide options some of the best in the division.
But is that something the board have planned for? Because to me and many others Sinisterra looks a direct replacement for Raphinha.
As the summer tour of Australia approaches, and with boss Jesse Marsch intent on taking all his first-team squad, there is a strong chance we could see ‘Raph’ feature down under against the likes of Crystal Palace.
At one stage this seemed improbable, but now there is a real feeling among the fanbase that this Brazilian star may yet have one last dance in a Leeds shirt – it’s certainly something many of us would love to see.
Can’t argue with that!
It’s never good to see that one of your best players wants to move to another club, but in the case of Raphinha us fans have huge respect.
The dancing winger was the club’s best player by a distance last season and when he could of downed tools with the club staring relegation in the face, he stepped up and saved us.
Not only that, but relegation would have in fact made it easier for Raphinha to accelerate his dream move to Barcelona because of his relegation release clause of £25 million, a figure the Spanish giants would have had a much easier job matching.
But even then our ‘Raph’ made sure we survived as he actioned the club’s motto of ‘side before self’ in a way that you rarely see in the modern day.
It’s not Leeds fault Barca can’t meet the asking price, and it’s also not Raphinha’s fault either. Which leaves things in an uncertain place as of now.
All I know is that as a Leeds United fan, I’m more than okay with it being Leeds or Barcelona for Raphinha next season, and nobody else. You have to respect what he wants, and for Leeds either outcome could be seen as a good result.