By George Overhill

30th Jun, 2022 | 9:10pm

Sky Sports: Race for Leeds United star Raphinha is not just Chelsea, Barcelona and Arsenal

The transfer saga surrounding Leeds United star Raphinha could still explode into a much bigger one, according to Sky Sports reporter Mark McAdam.

Chelsea have a £60million agreement in place with United for the winger, while Barcelona have belatedly made an offer which did not meet that level, Fabrizio Romano has reported.

Arsenal had made the first official bid for the 25-year-old on 21 June, although it fell well below the club’s valuation to the point that it left officials at Elland Road confused.

But as the Brazilian’s agent Deco continues to stall in order to leave the door open for further activity from the Camp Nou the latest report suggests the three aforementioned sides are not the only ones to worry about.

Speaking on Sky Sports News on Thursday (30 June), in a clip posted to the channel’s Twitter account, reporter McAdam said: “It’s our understanding that it isn’t just a race between Barcelona and Chelsea, and Arsenal loitering in the background.

“There could be a number of other clubs, both in Europe and the Premier League, that will be looking at this situation.

“They’ve almost been alerted to his availability, to the figures, to the situation. And they’ll be looking at him as a top class player, thinking, ‘Why aren’t we in for Raphinha?’

“At the age he is, the player he is, I think there’s a little bit more mileage in this situation.

“Everyone expecting Chelsea to get the deal done. Yes, they’re in the driving seat, but they’ve not won the race.”

More?

What looked like being a relatively straight forward situation months ago has turned into a drawn out saga involving multiple interested parties.

When the Whites’ Premier League survival was on the line it appeared to only be a question of how much Barcelona were going to have to pay for the star attacker.

But the Catalan side’s continued obfuscation when faced with the prospect of having to actually pay up allowed the Premier League’s big clubs to move in.

Tottenham were expected to join the race in earnest around the time that Arsenal threw their hat into the ring, but having now agreed a move for Raphinha’s international teammate, Richarlison from Everton, they may be out of the running.

The prospect of yet further developments and new clubs joining the race could be a double-edged sword for United.

It increases the prospect that a bidding war pushing the asking price higher but also takes up valuable time that the club would need in order to spend that money.

Uncertainty in itself isn’t especially helpful for Jesse Marsch and his squad as the preseason gets under way so if new bidders from across Europe are planning to jump in it would preferably be sooner rather than later.

The whole affair is leaving an increasingly sour taste in the mouth of the Whites fanbase after what was a euphoric final day which saw Raphinha shirtless in the away end at Brentford.

In other Leeds United news, the deadline is getting tight for this saga to be concluded with what is on the horizon at the club.