By George Overhill

1st Jun, 2022 | 7:40am

Barcelona interest in Leeds United star Raphinha plummets as Premier League rivals move in

Barcelona’s interest in signing Leeds United star Raphinha has plummeted and Premier League rivals have moved ahead in the race, according to Relevo.

The Catalan giants have been at the head of the race for the Brazilian winger for some time, in large part thanks to the presence of his agent Deco.

But since the Whites secured Premier League survival on the final day of the season there has been little movement towards a deal between the two clubs.

According to Relevo, the lack of relegation for Jesse Marsch’s side has complicated matters due to the far higher price they can demand – over €55million – and while a move cannot be entirely ruled out it has become a lower priority at the Camp Nou.

Instead it appears that Premier League rivals have come to the fore in the race for the 25-year-old thanks to their much stronger spending ability, and interest is “growing” from domestic rivals.

They player himself is reportedly prioritising playing regularly as he has his eye on playing in the World Cup this winter.

Suspicions confirmed

When the Whites appeared to be heading on a one-way trip out of the top flight there was plenty of enthusiasm from Barca about bringing Raphinha to the club.

Joan Laporta went public with his admiration for the player at a point where it looked like the relegation release clause of €25million would be in place before long.

But since that eventuality didn’t materialise the club from La Liga have appeared somewhat stumped over what to do other than hope those at Elland Road would be feeling charitable and let him go cheaply anyway.

Clearly there is little chance of that happening, which seems to leave the Blaugrana little choice but to consider other options, which from the United fans’ point of view is exactly what they want to hear.

Less positive however is the suggestion that rival teams have moved to fill the gap as nobody at the club is going to want to be faced with lining up opposite their star attacking force for years to come.

What appeared to be a foregone conclusion just a couple of weeks ago now seems anything but, although the alternative might not necessarily be better.

In other Leeds United news, a Sky Sports pundit has raised a “huge point” for why the club don’t need to lose another star man.