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Barcelona 'to push through Raphinha deal at end of season'

Barcelona 'to push through Raphinha deal at end of season'
© Reuters
Barcelona are reportedly ready to accelerate their pursuit of Leeds United attacker Raphinha at the end of the season.

Barcelona are reportedly primed to push through a move for Leeds United attacker Raphinha at the end of the season.

The Brazil international has continued to star at Elland Road since his 2020 arrival from Rennes, but the Whites' relegation worries has led to intense speculation surrounding his future.

Raphinha's 10 goals and three assists in the Premier League this season have been unable to prevent Leeds from sliding down to 17th in the rankings with only one game left to play.

Should Burnley take at least a point home from Thursday's clash with Aston Villa, Leeds will enter the final day of the season in the relegation zone before their trip to Brentford.

Raphinha is widely expected to leave the club should they be demoted back down to the Championship, with Barcelona thought to be the frontrunners for his signature.

Raphinha warms up for Leeds United in October 2021© Reuters

According to 90Min, Barcelona are well-positioned to accelerate talks over a deal for Raphinha, but the Catalan club will wait until the end of the season to enter negotiations.

The report adds that a £25m exit clause will be activated if Leeds are relegated from the Premier League, but the 25-year-old is set to leave the club either way.

Raphinha is understood to have his heart set on a move to Barcelona, but the La Liga giants could still face stiff competition for the South American's signature this summer.

West Ham United are reportedly still interested in the attacker after a failed January move, while Paris Saint-Germain, Newcastle United, Chelsea and Liverpool are also keeping a close eye on developments.

Raphinha's contract at Elland Road is due to expire in two years' time amid rumours that he has already verbally agreed to join Barcelona for the 2022-23 season.

The former Vitoria Guimaraes and Sporting Lisbon youngster has made 66 appearances for Leeds since joining for £16.7m, scoring 16 goals and providing 12 assists in that time.

Ousmane Dembele in action for Barcelona in February 2022© Reuters

Raphinha could form part of a new-look Barcelona attack next season, with Ousmane Dembele yet to agree to an extension on his Blaugrana deal which expires next month.

Furthermore, Adama Traore's loan spell from Wolverhampton Wanderers has not worked out as intended, and the Spaniard is not expected to join the Catalan side permanently.

Memphis Depay's future has also been called into question over the past couple of months, although the Dutchman has announced his desire to stay on at Camp Nou.

Raphinha is understood to be one of eight new signings that Xavi wants to welcome at Barcelona this summer, with deals for Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen already agreed.

Barcelona have also not given up hope on signing Bayern Munich attacker Robert Lewandowski, who has confirmed that he will not be signing a new contract with the Bundesliga champions.

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