By George Overhill

15th Jun, 2022 | 5:10pm

Angel Di Maria is real alternative to Leeds United star Raphinha for Barcelona

Barcelona are “seriously considering” signing Angel Di Maria and see him as a “real alternative” to Leeds United star Raphinha, according to Sport in Spain.

The 34-year-old is available on a free transfer and represents a far more affordable option to the Whites’ Brazilian winger who the club value at £60million-£70million [The Athletic].

The Catalan giants are dealing with financial difficulties which “forces the sports management to lower expectations” on some summer signings and the Elland Road man looks like the main one.

According to the Sport report, the priority at the Camp Nou is to make Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski the main investment and, even if Ousmane Dembele departs for Chelsea, the assumption at the club is that there is “no money to bring Raphinha”.

Since Barca can’t afford to complete the deal which the 25-year-old United attacker badly wants they look to have found another option who won’t require a transfer fee.

That leaves the Leeds man to either stay or accept an advance from within the Premier League.

Moving on

This seems like the first logical move the Catalan side have made in this whole situation.

It appears as if they banked everything on the Whites being relegated to the Championship and had no capability to buy Raphinha once didn’t happen.

Sport reported on 11 June that the player and his agent Deco were continuing to block moves to English top flight sides despite them all being of higher value than the Blaugrana have managed.

But unless they come into a major influx of money, such as from the increasingly protracted negotiations with Manchester United for Frenkie de Jong, it is not going to be possible.

Argentina winger Di Maria became surplus to requirements at Paris Saint-Germain in part because the French side were able to take advantage of the financial turmoil at the Camp Nou to sign icon Lionel Messi.

He still has quality and if they pick up him on a free it would probably rule out a move for Raphinha, if the circumstances hadn’t done so already.

In other Leeds United news, one Whites star is expected to make a key decision this week that will kick off major machinations over his future at the club.