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Leeds United boss Jesse Marsch has been speaking about the massive influence Raphinha has had on the club, with his transfer to Barcelona edging closer.
According to Fabrizio Romano, Raphinha will travel to Spain today (Wednesday) to complete the move. He is set to sign a five-year contract at the Nou Camp, while the deal could eventually be worth £56.4million.
The winger just needs to take part in a medical and pen his new deal, then the Leeds exit will be announced.
It will be a major blow for the Whites as Raphinha was integral to them avoiding relegation last season. He hit 11 goals in 35 Premier League matches as Leeds finished 17th.
Victor Orta has already brought in attacking replacements to soften the blow. Luis Sinisterra and Brenden Aaronson will aim to get amongst the goals next season and aid Patrick Bamford up front.
During Leeds’ pre-season tour of Australia, the Yorkshire Evening Post asked Marsch about Raphinha’s situation. He replied: “There’s been distinct movement with Barcelona.
“We think that things will move along in the next day or two, but it’s certainly not finished yet.”
The American coach then spoke about Raphinha’s sterling efforts to keep Leeds in the top flight – even though relegation would have sped up his ‘dream’ move to Barca.
Leeds ‘so thankful’ to Raphinha – Jesse Marsch
“As much as it’s really hard to lose Raphinha I will say this about him. If you think about a young man, who was pretty much guaranteed to go on a reduced transfer fee 100 per cent to Barcelona if we were relegated and then you watch the performances and the commitment he had to making sure that the club was going to stay up.
“I think it’d be hard for any, you know, 23, 24-year-old person with that kind of pressure and that kind of opportunity to perform the way that he did.
“And we are so thankful. I had that very clear conversation with him that a big part for me of us, considering to move him, was the fact that he was so committed. That it made it easy for us to be very connected with what his goals in life and in his career are.
“So I’m hopeful for his sake, as much as it’s hard to see him leave. I’m hopeful for him to get this deal done because I know it’s his dream to play for Barcelona.”
It seems Raphinha’s desire to perform for Leeds, even with the backdrop of Barca’s interest in him, sets the Brazilian apart from the rest.
Chelsea had been in talks with Leeds to sign the wide attacker. But his top priority was to play for Barca and that dream is now set to come to fruition.
It’s a shame to see Raphinha leave the Prem as he is an incredibly exciting player to watch. However, he clearly has the talent to shine for one of the biggest clubs in the world. Barca are now set to benefit hugely from having him in their squad.
Meanwhile, Raphinha has sent a brief message to Leeds supporters in what could be his final day of training at Thorp Arch.
The article Raphinha latest: Jesse Marsch explains why star is like no other; ‘hopeful’ Barcelona move goes through appeared first on Teamtalk.com.