By George Overhill

22nd Mar, 2022 | 8:40pm

Barcelona can't afford €80million asking price for Leeds United star Raphinha

Barcelona want Leeds United winger Raphinha to replace Ousmane Dembele but cannot currently afford to pay the asking price, AS reports.

The Catalan giants are known to be interested in the Brazilian, and his agent Deco is a former player at the Camp Nou which is thought to make a move more likely.

But the report claims the Whites star is not the La Liga side’s priority, and that they will have “the handbrake on” in their attempts to sign him until they sort out the situations with Dembele and on-loan Wolves attacker Adama Traore.

The report from AS in Spain says: “In fact, Raphinha (25 years old) has a prohibitive clause of 80 million euros, although Brazil openly speculates that it could be lowered to 35 million, a figure that Barça still considers high.

“However, in the club chaired by Laporta they go with the handbrake on in this operation. First, because the signing of a goalscoring striker for next season is still being prioritized, and second, because they are still waiting to clear up the future of Dembélé and Adama to finish making a decision.”

Not a done deal

Depressingly enough for Leeds fans, the exit of this season’s star player appears to have become a foregone conclusion.

The links to the Blaugrana have intensified recently, and in many ways make a lot of sense.

But it looks like everything is going to hinge on whether Jesse Marsch can save the club from relegation.

Two wins in the bounce have increased those chances, and could yet keep the control of the Raphinha situation in the club’s hands.

Despite financial problems that saw their icon Lionel Messi leave the club last summer, Barcelona have managed to secure a number of big-money signings this year.

But that apparently doesn’t stretch to paying whatever it takes for the 25-year-old.

Should the Whites drop out of the Premier League then they will have to offload virtually all of their stars whether they want to or not.

And there is a belief that a relegation release clause in Raphinha’s contract would make that far more affordable for the likes of Xavi’s team.

In other Leeds United news, The Times has reported major news on the whether Kalvin Phillips will be staying at the club.