By George Overhill

31st Mar, 2022 | 11:10am

Leeds United and Raphinha set to be impacted by major change of heart at Barcelona

Barcelona’s move for Leeds United star Raphinha may be in doubt with new contract talks for Ousmane Dembele set for next week according to the Daily Mail.

The French forward appeared to be a pariah at the Camp Nou as recently as January and was thought to be certain to leave the club at the expiry of his current contract in the summer.

But the one-time £135million man has been re-integrated into the first team to such an extent that he may be due to extend his stay at the Catalan giants.

Club president Joan Laporta went public over the pursuit of United’s Brazilian winger Raphinha this week, but with finances still constrained they appear to be unable to meet the Whites’ asking price, which David Anderson of The Mirror puts at almost £67million.

The form of ex-Dortmund forward Dembele, and the increasing difficulty of the Raphinha pursuit, appear to have forced the five-time Champions League winners to consider a new path.

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The latest developments may be the clearest sign yet that the Blaugrana are becoming frustrated by the lack of success in courting the Leeds man.

With Deco both the player’s agent and working informally for his former side, they appeared to assume the negotiations would be easy.

But that hasn’t turned out to be the case, with the Elland Road negotiating position strengthened by decreasing threat of relegation.

Dembele has scored one and assisted seven while featuring in the last six La Liga matches, while also appearing in all four Europa League knockout games.

Transfer fees appear to be the main issue for Barcelona, with the club believed to have locked up free transfers for Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen and AC Milan’s Franck Kessie.

Re-signing their own man would avoid the need for a fee, although the contract and any bonuses are sure to not come cheap, and give them another chance at a proper return for the player they shelled out a massive fee for in the first place.

It would be even harder than it is now to see them being able to stump up the fee for Raphinha in that event, so the 25-year-old could be set to remain.

In other Leeds United news, a super-rich PL side are reportedly set to sell one of their stars to facilitate a move for a Whites man.