Chelsea and Newcastle United are ready to open talks to sign Barcelona winger Raphinha – who is set to leave the club in the summer transfer window, according to a report from Sport.
Raphinha joined the Blaugrana last summer from Leeds United but he could already be sold in the upcoming window. The South American has done reasonably well for the Catalan giants, scoring eight goals and providing nine assists, but the La Liga giants are looking to cash in.
Sport claims that the Brazilian is aware that he could drop down the pecking order if Lionel Messi returns to his former club. On top of that, Xavi Hernandez prefers Ousmane Dembele, and he has mostly got minutes this season due to the Frenchman’s injury.
Initially, Raphinha didn’t want to leave the club, but Sport says that he has now changed his mind. Barcelona will look to negotiate a deal to maximize their profit, and they would be more than happy to sell him for a fee of around £70m.
The Catalan based newspaper further adds that several clubs are very interested in bidding for him, but Chelsea and Newcastle want to open formal negotiations immediately as they look to wrap up the deal swiftly.
Raphinha was close to joining Chelsea during the last summer window. Andrea Radrizzani said in an interview that he was ashamed to face Todd Bohely as he gave his words that the Brazilian would join them, but the deal collapsed.
The Blues now have a chance to sign Raphinha again. After a disappointing campaign, Chelsea will be looking to rebuild the squad with a host of players likely to be sold to free up the space and wage for new arrivals. Raphinha – who was a hero at Leeds United – would welcome the opportunity to move to the Premier League again.
Newcastle, likewise, could be an interesting option. The Magpies are building something exciting under Eddie Howe and they can offer Raphinha Champions League football if they secure a top-four spot this season, which looks increasingly likely.