By George Overhill

26th Jun, 2022 | 8:40am

Leeds United star Raphinha meets Angel Di Maria in Ibiza amid Barcelona transfer saga

Two rivals for a potential major summer move to Barcelona, Angel Di Maria and Leeds United star Raphinha, both found themselves in Ibiza together this week.

The Whites star has long been considered one of the primary targets for the Catalan giants, before it became clear that the transfer fee was not something they could match.

Argentina winger Di Maria is due to become a free agent when his Paris Saint-Germain contract expires and has since emerged as a cheaper real alternative.

According to Marca, whether either of them end up playing at the Camp Nou depends on another impending free agent there, Frenchman Ousmane Dembele, who has not yet accepted the offer of a new contract and whose own situation is becoming “more and more complicated”.

Premier League sides have filled the vacuum left by Barca as Arsenal have had a bid rejected for Brazilian, with new offers from them and Tottenham are expected, and Chelsea are also in hot pursuit.

As the two South Americans approach some sort of conclusion, with the expiry of contracts less than a week away, they met on holiday in Ibiza and took a photo together which Raphinha shared on his Instagram stories.

Limbo

Both players are thought to prefer a move to the side from La Liga, although 34-year-old Di Maria’s prospects are complicated by his Real Madrid history.

Whether either end up there is up in the air, but as the end of June is now only days away answers must start arriving soon.

As soon as one domino falls then others should begin to follow, as so many relevant parties are interconnected.

With the Gunners making the first concrete move towards Raphinha that may well get it all moving, as they are surprise favourites for his signature [The Athletic], which could cause fellow chasers Chelsea to increase their interest in Dembele, which might in turn open the spot for Di Maria.

It is not too surprising that two football stars have bumped into each other on holiday as there are only so many luxury resorts to take them all before pre-season starts, but it is a notable coincidence that two involved in the same transfer saga happened to meet up at this point.

The chances of Xavi’s side coming up with the big money that the United player will cost still seem pretty remote, so all the fans will now be worried about is the fee received.

Arsenal’s first bid was confusingly low, but the English top flight sides can certainly afford him and with both player and agent apparently having run out of patience with the Blaugrana a move within the division is looking more likely,

That is much to the understandable chagrin of those who don’t want to see him playing for a rival when they will already have to see their side line up opposite Kalvin Phillips soon.

In other Leeds United news, the agent of one European Whites target is in the country looking to facilitate a deal with bids set to fly.