Where next for Raphinha? Leeds United star attracting attention from Barcelona and Liverpool

Despite Leeds United struggling to reach their heights of last season, their Brazilian star has shone, so could he now be tempted to swap Yorkshire for Barcelona?

Leeds United's emphatic return to the Premier League was a success for many reasons. They climbed up to ninth, managed remarkable wins over Tottenham and Manchester City, and received plenty of plaudits for their style of play.

But one of their most underrated successes came in the transfer market, with the signing of Brazilian winger Raphinha from Stade Rennais for just £17million.

He turned out to be one of the summer's best signings, as he went on to score six and assist nine in his debut season.

This year is no different, and despite Leeds struggling in the bottom half of the table, they'd be much worse off without Raphinha's nine goals this season.

His superb form has, of course, attracted plenty of attention, with the latest rumours linking him with a move to Camp Nou.

It's believed that his release clause sits at £70million - unless Leeds go down that is - with the fee expected to drop to just £20million if the Yorkshire club face the drop.

Barcelona

Xavi Hernandez head coach of Barcelona gives instructions

The Catalan side are beginning to look more like their former selves under Xavi, but the club are fully aware that new arrivals will be needed in the summer if they are to truly challenge at the top of world football again.

So far, Xavi's signings have hit the ground running, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang enjoying a rejuvinated spell under the Spaniard.

They'll forever be a club with immense pulling power, and I don't think many Leeds fans would be angered should Raphinha accept an offer from the five-time European champions.

Of course the fee could be an issue for a side struggling economically, but if Barcelona are able to cough up the money necessary to complete the deal, it only seems a matter of time until we see Raphinha jet off to Spain.

Liverpool

Fabinho embraces Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool, Premier League

Back in January, it seemed that a move to Liverpool was the most likely option for Raphinha, but the arrival of Luis Diaz over the winter has calmed those rumours.

However, it still shouldn't be ruled out. Klopp is a big admirer of the Brazilian, who is known to be good friends with Liverpool's South American stars AlissonRoberto Firmino and Fabinho.

Fabinho has publicly discussed his desire to see Raphinha swap the white of Yorkshire for the red of Liverpool, saying: "In this market, there was a discussion about him going to Liverpool. For Liverpool, I was hoping that would happen. But in the end, he stayed."

Raphinha's agent has also addressed his client's potential Liverpool switch. "There are certainly several clubs that like him, and Liverpool do like him, there were approaches, but nothing official."

Should Raphinha want to stay in the Premier League, Merseyside will likely be his destination in the summer, although whether or not the Reds' interest is still alive is yet to be seen.

Paris Saint-Germain

Lionel Messi, PSG, Ligue Un

Another European powerhouse in pursuit of Raphinha are Paris Saint-Germain, who could soon be looking to replace Kylian Mbappe.

Regardless of his loyalties to Leeds, the prospect of playing alongside Lionel Messi in the Champions League has to entice Raphinha, and he already has experience in Ligue 1.

The 25-year-old came to Leeds from Stade Rennais, where he spent the 2019/20 season, making 28 appearances and scoring six goals.

He does seem to be enjoying himself in the Premier League, but if a move back to France was on the cards, then PSG will be an obvious choice.

However, this switch does seem to rely heavily on Mbappe's departure, which admittedly does seem inevitable in the summer. But with Mbappe's boots being a big void to fill, the French club could look elsewhere for a replacement.

Manchester United

Ralf Rangnick, Manchester United vs Crystal Palace

If Raphinha is keen on staying in England and in the Premier League, then another possibility is a switch to Old Trafford.

It'd infuriate the Yorkshire side if their beloved star moves to their rivals in red, but it's a move that has happened plenty of times before - Rio Ferdinand, Eric Cantona and Denis Irwin all made the switch, while Daniel James recently went the other way.

The Red Devils also have some Brazilian stars of their own which could tempt Raphinha to move - Fred and Alex Telles are fellow internationals, while Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo are fellow Portuguese speakers.

Ralf Rangnick has publicly spoken about his desire to bring a new attacker to Old Trafford, and Raphinha fits the bill perfectly as a winger that prefers the right flank.

Whether or not the Red Devils will be able to entice Raphinha with Champions League football depends on how they end their season, but they're still a lot higher than Leeds are in the table, and it'd be a step up for the Brazilian.

Frankly, Leeds fans should be more worried about United swooping for Kalvin Phillips rather than Raphinha, but in what is a new era for the Manchester side, nothing can be ruled out.

Newcastle United

Eddie Howe, Newcastle United manager, Premier League

With Newcastle's new-found wealth comes an abundance of transfer rumours, one of which is that Raphinha could move to Tyneside to help Eddie Howe's side climb the table next season.

A few months ago it'd be unthinkable that Newcastle would find themselves above Leeds in the Premier League table, and that may open Raphinha's eyes to the possibilities at the Tyneside club.

They're aiming for the top, and don't want to waste any time getting there. An ambitious project could sway the Brazilian to move, and money would be no issue either.

READ MORE: Eleven loan players who will find themselves in demand this summer - Coutinho, Gallagher, Broja...

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