By George Overhill

19th Jun, 2022 | 11:20am

Leeds United star Raphinha would move to Chelsea or Liverpool as Barcelona wait goes on

Leeds United star Raphinha would not be waiting for Barcelona if it wasn’t for his agent and would be happy with a Premier League move, according to Sport.

The Spanish outlet claim that it is only the Portuguese Deco who is keeping the Whites star holding on for the long-delayed approach from the Camp Nou.

Premier League interest is known to be high, yet the player was previously believed to have his heart set on a move to La Liga and as such his agent was blocking approaches according to his preference.

But the latest report from Spain suggests the Brazilian winger does not feel as strongly, and a source claims: “If Deco wasn’t Raphinha’s agent, he would have already signed for Liverpool or Chelsea.”

The Anfield and Stamford Bridge clubs are joined by fellow English giants Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United in chasing the former Rennes player, with more than one offer from among the five apparently reaching the supposed €65million asking price.

Liverpool’s signing of Darwin Nunez has reportedly not reduced their pursuit of Raphinha, while Chelsea have been putting Deco, a former Blues player, under “suffocating” pressure as they prioritise the Elland Road star over a move for Ousmane Dembele.

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It appears it is only the ex-Portugal international, and the fact he gave his word to Joan Laporta and Matheu Alemany at the Camp Nou, that is keeping the situation in its current stasis.

Road block

It is hard for Whites fans to know whether they should be supportive of the 44-year-old agent, as it is his role as unofficial Barca representative that appears to have been working against United in contract negotiations.

And while the Catalan giants and their financial mess have prevented them from coming up with the money required he has been part of the apparent attempts to knock them down in price for some time.

But Leeds are unlikely to want to face their star man on the pitch if he makes a move within the top flight, so if an Elland Road exit is inevitable then perhaps the best-case scenario is a move abroad.

The whole saga hinges on whether Laporta will come up with the money, which looked unlikely until the recent members vote to sell off part of the merchandise and media rights at the Camp Nou.

If they eventually come through with the appropriate offer it will mean that Deco has proven to be a benefit, although perhaps as an unintended side effect.

The Whites star would stay a favourite in the eyes of the fans if he were playing in Spain, while that status would likely wane if he were to line up in opposition a couple of times a season in England.

It looks like top flight rivals haven’t given up hope and are offering significant cash to tempt the club, so Barca are going to have to get their act together soon in case Raphinha tires of waiting and goes against his agent’s wishes.

In other Leeds United news, the club are chasing a top European goalscoring prospect who is available on a free.