Leeds winger Raphinha is closing in on a deal worth £55m to join Barcelona after missing his side's pre-season tour of Australia; Brazilian did not travel with the rest of the Leeds squad on the tour Down Under
Friday 15 July 2022 16:06, UK
Barcelona have completed the £55m signing of Leeds winger Raphinha.
The Catalans have completed the deal on an initial £49m fee, which could rise to £55m with add-ons.
Raphinha said: "It's a dream come true since I was a kid, and of my family as well. I'm going to give my best."
The deal represents good business for Leeds following his 17 goals in the Premier League over two seasons.
It's a move that suits the player and Leeds have planned for Raphinha's departure.
So far this summer Leeds have signed Tyler Adams, Brenden Aaronson, Darko Gyabi, Rasmus Kristensen, Marc Roca and Luis Sinisterra from Feyenoord for an undisclosed fee.
Marsch is now assessing their defensive options but may look to strengthen in that position before the start of the new season.
Leeds are also in the market for a striker and are expected to push that plan forward once Raphinha has completed his move to Barcelona.
Defender Junior Firpo will be out for up to eight weeks after picking up a knock during the pre-season game against Blackpool.
Sky Sports News reporter Tim Thornton:
"Leeds fans love Raphinha. They love his attitude, they love what he's brought to the club, but they also love the way that he's conducted himself during this process. He's not asked for a move, he's not agitated for a move. There was interest throughout this process from Arsenal, from Tottenham, from Chelsea; he could have gone to another Premier League club. But what's really important to stress with this is that this is the move that he wanted it.
"It was a dream move for him to go to Barcelona, so he's been patient. He didn't go on the pre-season tour to Australia, but he still turned up at Thorp Arch, the Leeds United training ground, to train on his own and with the few players that had been left behind from that tour.
"When he came in, not many had heard about Raphinha and they didn't know much about him but he made an instant impact, with 17 goals over two seasons at Leeds and he was very, very important towards the end of last season when Leeds stayed in the Premier League and those scenes at the final whistle when he was up there with all the fans celebrating was great to see.
"At that point it was pretty clear that he was probably going to leave this summer anyway. He and Kalvin Phillips, after the final home game of the season, were sat together at the side of the pitch and it was pretty clear that they would move on, but they both did it in the right way and, for Raphinha, this is a fantastic move. He moves on to the next stage in his career and there's a massive opportunity for him at Barcelona.
"Barcelona gain a player who's got a bit of everything in his game. He's not your typical winger in the sense that he's prepared to fight and to scrap and he's got a bit of an edge to him. But, put him in possession of the football and he can make things happen. He scores wonderful goals, he'll create goals as well and he'll work hard for the team, so he brings a lot to any side.
"It's not often you get flare players that are prepared to dig deep and work as hard as he does, so he'll certainly bring that to the Barcelona team, a little bit of X Factor. We saw with Brazil - and have done over the last 12 months - the impact he has made with the national side.
"As far as Leeds are concerned, they'll lose his creativity and goals, but it's a different head coach this season, a different system, a different way of playing and Leeds have been preparing for his departure for some time, so they've already made significant signings in this transfer window.
"The fact that they perhaps won't play with the same width that they played with in previous seasons under Marcelo Bielsa, that will certainly help them."
Sky Sports football journalist Nick Wright:
"The stunning strike against West Brom, lifted into the top corner from outside the box. The first-time rocket against Everton which took the roof off Elland Road. The penalty, won and converted under pressure, which helped secure survival against Brentford.
"Raphinha gave Leeds supporters plenty of moments to savour. His 65 Premier League appearances brought a total of 17 goals, many of them spectacular, and a lot more besides. The bewitching skill, the feints and nutmegs, will live just as long in the memory.
"The 25-year-old was not widely known to English audiences when he arrived from Rennes in 2020 but he certainly is now, his explosive performances for Leeds, and subsequently Brazil, marking him out as one of the Premier League's most coveted players."
Sky Sports News senior reporter Tim Thornton examines what's next for Leeds with key players Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips exiting the club this summer...
We expect Leeds to move quickly and bring new players to the club: another midfielder, a winger and a striker to play alongside Patrick Bamford as Jesse Marsch likes to play two up front.
Leeds paid £16m for Raphinha and will look to do the same by buying players early and developing them. That's the strategy. They won't spend £60m to £70m on a player. They have identified targets, they know who they want and they will move quickly to bring them in.
If Leeds can get three more in then they can argue it's been a good window - even though they have lost two massive players.
Who will be on the move this summer when the transfer window opens on June 10 and closes at 11pm on September 1?
Keep up-to-date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports' digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.