Saturday, August 13, 2022

Raphinha to Chelsea transfer: Leeds United reach deal to send Brazilian to Blues over Arsenal or Barcelona

Chelsea v Leeds United - Premier League
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Leeds United winger Raphinha is a coveted target for many clubs like Barcelona and Arsenal, but it looks like his future will be elsewhere. The Brazilian is set to join Chelsea in a deal worth more than £55 million, according to CBS Sports transfer insider Fabrizio Romano. The two teams have reached a full agreement, and the deal is pending personal terms between the player and Chelsea, according to Romano. 

The Athletic reported on Tuesday that the Blues were close to agreeing on a fee with Leeds, as Barcelona couldn’t afford the transfer due to their restricted finances in La Liga while Arsenal did not meet Leeds’ asking price.

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Landing Raphinha comes sort of out of nowhere with Thomas Tuchel’s team expected to prioritize their lack of depth at center back ahead of the season. Chelsea have lost both Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christiansen to free transfers, yet they bolster an attack that has plenty of moving pieces. Just a season after spending big on striker Romelu Lukaku, they are on the verge of sending him back to Inter Milan on loan. With uncertain futures for Hakim Ziyech, Christian Pulisic and Timo Werner, landing a rising star in Raphinha gives Tuchel another strong option to build his attack around next season.

For Leeds, it’s always hard for teams that just fight off relegation to keep their best players. They look set to sell him for three times more than they paid Rennes to acquire him back in 2019. His 2021-22 season was his best in recent years, scoring 11 goals in 36 games. The pressure is now on Welsh international Dan James to deliver on the wing. 

As for Chelsea, they could very well have a new-look attack as they are also linked with Manchester City‘s Raheem Sterling. Pairing him with Raphinha in attack could be something, assuming they resolve their issue at the striker position. 

All in all, the Blues put themselves in a fantastic spot to sign one of the more electric and promising players in the Premier League, and he’s earned his chance at a big club that is in contention for trophies. He seems all but destined to get his first taste of UEFA Champions League action in his career. The group stage draw is set for Aug. 25 and you can catch all the UCL action on Paramount+.

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