By George Overhill

22nd Jun, 2022 | 12:40pm

Raphinha could stay at Leeds United unless Barcelona bid ahead of World Cup

Leeds United star Raphinha could remain at the club this summer if a bid from Barcelona never materialises, according to Tim Vickery.

The Catalans have long been thought the Brazilian’s preference, but finances are so tight at the Camp Nou they have been unable to make a proper offer.

Arsenal jumped in on Tuesday (21 June) with the first bid of the summer and a competing one is expected from Tottenham, but BBC journalist Vickery thinks the presence of a winter World Cup this year could make staying at Elland Road a better plan than making a Premier League move.

He told talkSPORT on Wednesday morning (22 June), in a clip posted on the station’s Twitter page: “If Barcelona can do it, and we don’t know that… If they can, it’s hard to say ‘no’.

“In Raphinha’s shoes, if it’s not Barcelona, there must be a temptation just to stay put, because of the World Cup.

“Normally, go. But, let’s not rock the boat.”

Hopeful

It’s a situation that has to have been in the backs of Whites fans’ minds for some time as the obfuscations from Barcelona rumbled on.

Had the World Cup not been awarded to Qatar it would be happening right now and a move would have no bearing on the 25-year-old’s place in the Brazil squad.

But if he makes the wrong move now there would be around three months of football to be played between the start of the 2022/23 season and the November tournament where he could be overtaken by others if he isn’t playing enough.

He knows he is Tite’s plans as a regular starter at Elland Road so he could do a lot worse than maintaining the situation he currently has to ensure he is a factor internationally in the winter.

Should the Blaugrana get their act together in time to make a sufficient bid before the window closes there remains the risk that he isn’t an automatic starter there and there are World Cup repercussions, but he appears to want to make that move more than anything else.

As the Premier League giants take precedence in the transfer battle there is certainly logic to the idea that Leeds United hold onto him until at least January, which would be a significant boost to the fans and Jesse Marsch.