Barcelona and Leeds United have reached an agreement in principle over the transfer of Brazilian forward Raphinha according to an official club statement. It’s expected the deal will be completed when he passes his medical in the coming hours.
His arrival is highly exciting for all game fans of Spanish football. Born in Porto Alegre, the Brazilian is 25 years of age. He joined Leeds in the summer of 2020 when they were promoted to English football’s top tier and has emerged as one of the most dynamic footballers in the European game.
Raphinha made 67 appearances for Leeds, contributing 17 goals and 12 assists across all competitions. He was integral as they finished their first season in the top tier of English football since 2003/04 in a respectable ninth place, and while they struggled collectively in 2021/22 his class has never been called into question. He was integral to their successful survival bid.
Raphinha has become a fully-fledged Brazilian international since he joined Leeds – he’s earned nine caps for the seleção and scored three goals – and was playing on another level to the rest of his teammates from the moment he arrived at Elland Road.
One of the most interesting things about Raphinha is how he has a real edge to his game. Brazilian players are often painted as fair-weather footballers, guys who can turn it on when the lights are bright and the attention is on them but not when the going gets tough. Men capable of sublime skills but not hard-edged competitors like their Argentine counterparts. This is incorrect.
But players of a character like that are rare to find and that’s exactly the type of man and competitor that Xavi and his team wanted to bring to Camp Nou. But that’s not the only reason. Raphinha brings a certain technical quality that is exactly what La Blaugrana need right now – he changes their frontline.
And the fact that he pushed so hard to get the move over the line – Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur were all keen on signing him earlier this summer and were willing to offer him more money but he was intent on joining Barcelona – means that he arrives in Catalonia with real credit in the bank.
And he joins a club that’s been very active in the transfer market and look set to continue in that vein. Barcelona finished 13 points behind Real Madrid in La Liga last season – that’s something that’s unacceptable at Camp Nou. The pieces are now being put in place to try and make up that gap in the coming campaign.