By George Overhill

16th May, 2022 | 4:40pm

Barcelona make Leeds United £55million offer for Raphinha

Barcelona have “accelerated” their push to sign Leeds United star Raphinha and made an offer that could reach a total of €65million, UOL Sport reports.

The Catalan giants have been after the 25-year-old for weeks, with the players’ agent Deco maintaining close links to the Camp Nou from his playing days, and club president Joan Laporta talking openly about him (RAC1 via Yorkshire Evening Post).

It appeared that they were relying on the Whites being relegated so they could take advantage of a much-reduced price for the winger, but have apparently now stepped up their pursuit regardless.

According to UOL journalist Bruno Andrade they have made an offer of €55million with another €10million in potential add-ons (£46.7million and £8.5million).

He reports that Leeds are “willing to sell in this European summer market” but have not yet taken the negotiations to the next level while they concentrate on the relegation battle.

Raphinha himself is reported to have a verbal agreement to sign a five-year contract at Barca and wants to make the move, but is currently focused on the final games as he wants to first “solve the team’s future in the Premier League.”

Timing

With United outside of the relegation zone by a single point and Burnley below holding a game in hand it seems odd that the team from La Liga would suddenly now make an offer closer to this size.

Their financial constraints have led to them focusing heavily on free transfers and it appeared the fee was the stumbling block up until now.

Unless they feel that the point gained from Pascal Struijk’s injury-time equaliser against Brighton on Sunday (15 May) has turned the team’s fortunes and will keep them up they could have otherwise waited just a week to find out the Whites’ fate.

Burnley’s last two games are against Aston Villa and Newcastle and if they lose both then Leeds are safe, which will leave the power in the club’s hands regarding the prospective exit of their star man.

An offer of £55million in total is substantial, and as it would see him move to another league might be preferable to a similar approach West Ham made in January.

But he could realistically cost closer to £70million considering his age and international status now, so it still may not be enough.

If the Clarets overturn the finishing positions and Jesse Marsch’s side drop out of the league then an offer of this size would probably be unnecessary either way.

It is possible that Barca are attempting to pre-empt other teams who may join the chase and outspend them, otherwise the timing of this bid is strange.

In other Leeds United news, a Sky pundit hammered the potentially exit-bound star as an “absolute disgrace” for his behaviour amid the recent turmoil.