Barcelona president Joan Laporta creates 'great anger' as he pushes for Leeds United's Raphinha
Barcelona president Joan Laporta appears to be willing to go against his coach and multiple players to force through a move for Leeds United star Raphinha.
That is not positive news for the Whites if he is happy to go to those lengths to seal a deal for a player he has gone public with his admiration for.
He previously said, via Fabrizio Romano: “Raphinha is a player we really like and it’s true that Deco’s his agent. We’ve very good relationships”.
But “we” might not be entirely accurate as El Nacional in Spain subsequently reported that the pursuit of the Brazilian “creates internal conflict” at the club and “great anger” among the players.
The signing is seen to be unpopular with Wolves loanee Adama Traore because it would likely see his stay at the Camp Nou not made permanent, and with Ferran Torres, Ansu Fati, Gavi and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang because it would detract from their minutes.
Coach Xavi therefore reportedly opposes it to maintain squad harmony and because: “He thinks it’s too much money, and it’s a footballer profile he doesn’t need in the squad.”
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Let it go
With Ousmane Dembele finding something close to top form, and being reintegrated into the squad in a way that previously looked impossible it makes sense that Xavi would prefer to keep him.
Re-signing the Frenchman is “the only thing” that could prevent the push for Raphinha continuing according to a separate El Nacional report but whether that happens appears to hinge on the former Dortmund man accepting reduced terms.
More importantly though, it would function the same as the free transfers the Blaugrana are currently favouring.
Following some backtracking from Romano after he was blasted by Victor Orta on the radio (Mundo Deportivo) it has now been accepted that there is no release clause in Raphinha’s contract.
Without one, and assuming Premier League survival is secured, he will cost.
The Mirror‘s David Anderson put United’s asking price at nearly double the mooted £33.5million Barca were apparently willing to offer, and if there is competition it would surely be higher.
Clearly the Catalans can’t afford that, and Laporta appears to have been willing to unsettle multiple other players by offering them in exchange.
Oscar Mingueza, Sergino Dest, Clement Lenglet and Martin Braithwaite have been suggested according to Mundo Deportivo, but aren’t interested.
This can only lead to trouble at the Camp Nou, and likely also at Elland Road if it unsettles the 25-year-old winger, especially when Deco, his agent, has a strong relationship with the European club.
It appears Laporta won’t take no for an answer, no matter how many directions it is coming from, so this episode looks likely to rumble on.
In other Leeds United news, a Premier League giant is “advancing” on signing a Leeds star.