Barcelona are among the clubs wanting to sign Leeds winger Raphinha this summer, Sky Sports News has learned.
The club are hoping that a strong relationship with their agent Deco, their former player, will help persuade him to join them at Premier League clubs.
Talks have been ongoing between Leeds and Raphinha over a new contract since last year, but he has yet to sign the terms of the offer.
There was great interest in him from other English top-flight teams in January, but it did not materialize.
His current deal runs until 2024, so Barca would have to pay a transfer fee to get him, regardless of whether Leeds remain in the Premier League or not.
Jesse Marsch’s side are deep in relegation contention, seven points above the relegation zone with eight games remaining, but having played at least one more game than those below them.
Barcelona, whose significant financial situation has eased somewhat thanks to a new sponsorship deal with Spotify, will expect Raphinha’s valuation to drop if Leeds falls.
The Catalans hope to have a limited amount of cash available for some purchases this summer, and they hope it will be supplemented by player sales.
Ivory Coast midfielder Franck Kessie has already agreed to join Barca on a free transfer this summer from AC Milan.
And Barça have put on record their interest in Paulo Dybala now that he has decided not to renew his contract with Juventus and will be a free agent on July 1.
Dembélé could remain in the Barcelona
The door has also been reopened for Ousmane Dembélé to agree on a new contract at the Camp Nou after his return to normal under Xavi.
Vice President Rafa Yuste said this week that “if Dembele continues to feel comfortable, we can meet with his agents and he could stay” as his current contract is closer to expiring on June 30.
This is a change in tone from the club after they tried to remove him in January amid a deadlock and an offer that included a significant pay cut, and it was made at the same time the club were signing Ferran Torres from Manchester City.
Despite this deal, Dembélé and his representatives are willing to eventually meet with the Barça hierarchy and listen to a new proposal, since there is still nothing agreed on the future of the player and other clubs.
He is free to talk to clubs outside of Spain and both Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea showed interest in January.
The French international is enjoying his football again and posting some of the best attacking stats in Europe. Dembele has the best assists per minute ratio in the top five leagues this season, the most assists in Europe since the turn of the year and the second most in La Liga all season.
English clubs persecute Gavi and Araujo
Premier League clubs are also said to be monitoring ongoing contract disputes between Barca and players Ronald Araujo and Gavi, as well as Dembele.
Center-back Araujo’s current contract expires in 2024 and he is currently one of the team’s lowest-paid players despite establishing himself as first choice alongside Gerard Pique this season.
Barca are said to have made a final ‘take it or leave it’ offer to the 23-year-old, which would triple his current B-tier salary, but sources in Spain have said. Sky sports news that Premier League clubs would be willing to pay him more.
17-year-old midfielder sensation Gavi finds himself in a similar situation, with just over two years remaining on his youth terms, and at loggerheads over his first professional deal at the club.
Barcelona are said to value him as a youth squad who recently broke into the first team, but the player feels he should be on a par with Spain’s international regulars, what he has become since making his debut with Spain’s vibrant young side. Luis Enrique last October. .
Gavi’s situation is also said to be closely monitored by big clubs across Europe, including in the Premier League, although Liverpool are understood to have no plans to sign him despite reports in Spain that they are interested.
Barca vice president Yuste said this week: “We are working hard to keep Gavi and Araujo at the club. I am optimistic. The players are happy here.”
Redknapp: Gavi is the new Iniesta
Sky Sports’ Jamie Redknapp speaking at the Nations League final in October 2021:
“Spain has a player in Gavi, I want to see his birth certificate! You can’t be that good at 17, I’m sorry. He’s absolutely phenomenal.
“One of the best midfielders I’ve seen live is Iniesta, [because of] the way he used to get the ball in the half turn, just like [Gavi does]. He let the ball go through his body and the players tried to get close to him, and even though he was small, he had a big body and big legs, he somehow managed to roll with the players. He had these built-in rearview mirrors that all great midfielders have.
“He is so talented this boy [Gavi]. He is brave, he is good on the ball, he takes brilliant positions. It’s so good, so good. For being 17 years old and playing in this kind of company, I’m in awe of him and I love watching this kid play.
“He has it all, he absolutely has it. He has physicality. What a joy and what a player.”