By George Overhill

5th Jul, 2022 | 11:40am

Chelsea ready to move on from Leeds United star Raphinha if saga drags on this week

Chelsea are prepared to move on from signing Leeds United winger Raphinha if the “saga drags on” according to CBS journalist Ben Jacobs.

The Blues are the only side to have had a bid accepted for the Brazilian star, although the player and his agent Deco continue to hold out for their preferred move to Barcelona.

While the Catalan giants have been unwilling or unable to offer the Whites’ asking price the Stamford Bridge side have an agreement in place to pay £60million, to be paid in the short timeframe that benefits United.

While the 25-year-old has had personal terms agreed at the Camp Nou for months now there had been reports last week, such as from Sport on 1 July that he was refusing to enter into negotiations with the Premier League side.

On Monday Tutto Mercato reporter Gianluigi Longari said that the offer from Chelsea was in fact “not an issue at all” as it was “the highest he has received”, suggesting the player would be ready to go there if Barcelona don’t come through.

Whether the option will still be available is now the question as Jacobs wrote in a thread on his own Twitter account Monday: “With Raphinha, Barcelona have further talks with Leeds this week. Laporta has said “no deadline” to agree a deal.

“But Leeds feel this week is key since they want clarity on Raphinha’s future, especially with Luis Sinisterra deal advancing.

“As previously reported, Chelsea are doing all they can to put pressure on Raphinha. They know he dreams of Barca, but is open to CFC over staying at Leeds.

“Chelsea’s tactic has always been to move quick, try to price out Barca and push (within reason) Raphinha to give an answer.

“Chelsea are confident of completing the Sterling signing this week and if Raphinha saga drags on they will move on to other priorities.”

Game of chicken

As has been the case throughout this transfer chase everything comes down to whether Barcelona will commit and pay the asking price.

They have wanted the player the whole time, and he has wanted to go there, but that isn’t enough to make it happen without putting the money.

It appears that they now have the means to do so, making the next week the time that logically the bid that ends this saga finally comes in.

If not then perhaps that bid is the one that is already sitting there, but just as Leeds United can’t sit around waiting forever for a decision to be made, nor can Chelsea.

All three clubs in question have transfer business they want to get done, and the Whites seem to be plowing on with theirs at an impressive rate.

At the Camp Nou they have just announced two new signings, and apparently have grand plans to keep adding more [Relevo], and yet they are the only one of the three who have been all talk and no action as of yet in terms of appropriate offers.

If the Chelsea option disappears then Leeds are going to lose out because they will be forced towards a lower offer from La Liga, unless one of the other interested parties comes forward and puts a sizeable bid of their own on the table.

In many ways it is understandable that Raphinha wants to follow in his illustrious compatriots’ footsteps and go to Barca.

What is less understandable is why the Catalan club continues to expect that to happen without paying what he’s worth.

Either they can do it, in which case they should. Or they can’t, in which case they need to let everyone else involved know in order for them to get on with other plans.

In other Leeds United news, the club are in advanced talks over a new contract for a “central” piece of their squad.