By Pranav Shahaney

23rd Mar, 2022 | 11:50am

Chelsea were leading race to sign Leeds United attacker and Barcelona target Raphinha

Chelsea were reportedly leading the race to sign Leeds United attacker Raphinha before they were hit with sanctions.

That’s according to Sky Sports journalist Fabrizio Romano who’s claiming that Barcelona are now in the ascendancy to secure his services.

The Brazilian is keen on moving to Camp Nou and the Catalan giants are waiting for Leeds to clarify their position.

Via his personal Twitter account, Romano wrote, “Raphinha would be open to join Barcelona in the summer, positive talks between Deco and the club since March 9 – no discussions between clubs yet, as Barça will wait for Leeds situation to be clarified.

“Chelsea were leading the race for Raphinha before the sanctions.”

Exit on cards

Chelsea had the deep pockets to pull off this signing under Roman Abramovich.

He was the first real rich owner in the Premier League and played a huge role in the inflated transfer fees.

With him gone, the Blues are unlikely to be able to pull of the Raphinha deal.

Barcelona, who have had their financial issues recently, have managed to circumnavigate things and could make the Brazilian Leeds’ biggest sale in history.

While the Elland Road faithful would want to keep him, it makes no sense to have an unhappy player on the books.

It does make sense to let him go, get a decent transfer fee and then reinvest that money back into the squad.

In other Leeds United news, a first-team regular has turned down a new Elland Road contract and will sign it only under one condition.