By George Overhill

27th Mar, 2022 | 9:40pm

Leeds United star Raphinha's negotiations with Barcelona maybe most brazen tapping up yet

The transfer saga involving Leeds United star Raphinha and the proposed move to Barcelona appears to be a brazen example of tapping up.

Sport reported today that the player’s agent Deco has negotiated a five-year contract for the Brazilian winger, who has apparently “gladly accepted” the terms, despite United apparently rejecting the Catalan giants’ transfer offer.

But Fabrizio Romano reported on Twitter today (27 March) that the Blaugrana haven’t even made a bid yet, as they are waiting to see if The Whites are going to get relegated.

Romano wrote: “Raphinha’s contract includes two release clauses: 75 million in case Leeds will stay in PL, 25 million if relegated. That’s why Barcelona are waiting to make their opening bid.

“Personal terms not an issue. Barça are in advanced talks with his agent Deco since February.”

Therefore unless Leeds have given permission for their player to be engaged in contract negotiations with another club, it is what used to be referred to as tapping up.

Outdated

It seems unlikely that Andrea Radrizzani or Victor Orta would have sanctioned such a move, with it bound to distract their star player from the small matter of a relegation battle.

Jose Mourinho, Ashley Cole, and his agent Jonathan Barnett were all once fined for what FourFourTwo referred to as an “illicit meeting” when they looked back at the 2005 incident last year.

It is widely known that an element of tapping up occurs in virtually all transfers behind the scenes, and may even be useful for the selling club sometimes.

Mino Raiola’s tour round Europe shopping Erling Haaland was cited by Sam Cunningham in the Independent last year to argue that the regulations are now meaningless.

But with Leeds embroiled in a fight for survival, the constant high profile reports explaining how Deco is making provisions for the 25-year-old to play elsewhere take it to a whole new level.

Barcelona are no strangers to this kind of thing, with their pursuit of Antoine Griezmann at Atletico reported to FIFA in 2017 (BBC), before their subsequent signing was referred to La Liga, and drew threats of legal proceedings (Mirror).

The Madrid side accused the Catalans of negotiating a deal with the French forward without permission, then waiting until his release clause dropped to pay it (Goal).

It appears the ship has sailed on a time when even trying to hide negotiations with another team’s player was seen as important.

But that won’t amuse Whites fans if it disrupts the survival bid, and then sees the former Rennes winger leave for cheap.

In other Leeds United news, the club face a double-edged sword with an “extraordinary” £1billion spending spree projected on the horizon.