A change to Barcelona’s financial situation has allowed the Spaniards to challenge Chelsea for Leeds United winger Raphinha, say reports.
The Brazil international has been heavily linked with the Catalan club this summer, but they risked losing out on him amid serious competition from Stamford Bridge.
The Blues made an offer of £55 million for the 25-year-old on Tuesday, which could rise to £60m, but the Times (opens in new tab)reports that Barca will now match that bid.
Barcelona unlocked transfer funds by agreeing to sell 10 per cent of their La Liga TV rights for the next 25 years on Thursday.
That deal will bring in around £178m to the Catalan club’s coffers straight away, allowing them to make Leeds an offer worth up to £60m.
The right winger is ready to leave Elland Road after two successful seasons in Yorkshire.
Raphinha has been one of the club’s standout players since they earned promotion from the Championship ahead of the 2020/21 season, scoring 17 Premier League goals in 65 appearances.
He has a contract until 2024, but is ready to make the step up to European football after helping Leeds avoid relegation last season by scoring in a win over Brentford on the final day.
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Chelsea are preparing for a potential superstar move, as Neymar could well become available this summer.
Raheem Sterling has also been linked with a move to the Blues, perhaps replacing Hakim Ziyech, who has been rumoured to be in contact with a transfer to AC Milan. Yannick Carrasco has also been linked, while Matthijs De Ligt is a target, too.
The west Londoners may well look at swap deals, too, apparently to refresh their squad.
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Alasdair Mackenzie is a freelance journalist based in Rome, and a FourFourTwo contributor since 2015. When not pulling on the FFT shirt, he can be found at Reuters, The Times and the i. An Italophile since growing up on a diet of Football Italia on Channel 4, he now counts himself am