Raphinha: Leeds star set to seal dream Barcelona transfer despite Arsenal and Chelsea offers

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Deal close: Raphinha is now set to sign for Barcelona  (Getty Images)
Deal close: Raphinha is now set to sign for Barcelona (Getty Images)

Arsenal and Chelsea’s hopes of signing Raphinha are all but over after Leeds boss Jesse Marsch confirmed the winger is closing in on a “dream” move to Barcelona.

Arsenal and Chelsea had both made offers for Raphinha this summer, with the latter having their bid of £55million accepted.

The Brazilian, however, has been holding out for Barcelona to firm up their interest and he has finally got his wish.

Barcelona are expected to pay a similar fee to what Chelsea offered, although it could rise with add-ons, and Raphinha will travel to Spain this week to complete the move.

Marsch has bemoaned losing one of his star players, but admitted it was difficult to stand in the 25-year-old’s way when Barca came calling.

“There’s been distinct movement with Barcelona,” Marsch told reporters in Australia, where Leeds are currently on tour.

“We think that things will move along in the next day or two, but it’s certainly not finished yet.

“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.

“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.

“In an ideal world would we have wanted to lose Kalvin [Phillips] and Raphinha? No, but we also understood the realities of the situation and respected their wishes and dreams. But I think we’re going to be stronger.”

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