By George Overhill

2nd Jul, 2022 | 5:40pm

Leeds United need full Raphinha fee as Barcelona run out of excuses amid £345million news

Barcelona look to be forcing their way back to the front of the queue for Leeds United star Raphinha but have run out of reasons not to pay.

Always the assumed destination for the 25-year-old, their financial issues prevented them from being able to approach the Whites’ asking price of at least £60million.

Chelsea have since broken that stand-off by stumping up the cash required and it has been accepted at Elland Road.

But now, amid the news that the 10 per-cent sale of media rights put the Catalan side in line for a cash boost of €200million, with a further sale capable of pushing that up to €400million, they are able to re-enter the race.

It was reported on Friday (1 July) by Jijantes editor Gerard Romero that they had gazumped the Stamford Bridge side with, albeit with a lower offer of €60million [£51.7million], amid claims that Raphinha himself was refusing to enter into negotiations with Chelsea.

Guardian journalist Fabrizio Romano has since reported on YouTube that United deny accepting anything from the Camp Nou. Their preference is to do the deal with the Blues due to the size of fee and quick time-scale of payment.

The club have an obligation to protect their future prospects by receiving a fair fee for the Brazilian, even though they would actually rather he went to La Liga so they didn’t have to face off against him.

And it is by now as clear as day that the player and his agent are doing everything they can to get that move so Raphinha can be added a list that includes the likes of Romario, Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho.

Goal Spain writer Juan Luis Medina followed up the Friday report by saying the €60million fee was to be paid in three instalments, which differs slightly from Romano’s claim that they have offered a €50million fee with €10million add-ons but ties up in terms of the years it would take to pay.

But with everyone involved, aside from Chelsea and their fans, invested in a move to Barcelona they have no longer got any excuse not to make it happen on the proper terms.

Spanish outlet Relevo reported on Twitter that, boosted by an expected €200million from the TV rights sale, they now plan to sign not only Raphinha, but Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski, Sevilla’s Jules Kounde and Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva.

They are reportedly able to be “ambitious” due to the ability to still sell 15 per-cent more of their rights and double that cash boost.

No doubt some of that money will have to be set aside to service their huge debt, but if they now have the ability to go on such a shopping spree of stars across Europe they cannot claim poverty in trying to squeeze Leeds United.

Far from Deco, the chief orchestrator of developments towards the Camp Nou, pressuring United to lower their price, he should be convincing good friend Joan Laporta to allocate an additional fraction of that windfall to the deal they both want so dearly.

Chelsea might not be the financial behemoth they were under Roman Abramovich but they have satisfied Leeds with their offer, and as a European heavyweight newly furnished with funds Barcelona have an obligation to do the same.

In other Leeds United news, a Premier League rival have launched a late hijack attempt to prevent the Whites signing a player that looked done amid a controversial exit from their former side.