Raphinha hits out at reports of FC Barcelona exit

Barcelona winger Raphinha has denied that he has given his blessing for the club to start welcoming offers for him in the upcoming summer transfer window.

Raphinha joined Barcelona from Leeds last summer in a deal worth up to £55m. The Brazilian had a mixed start to the season, finding himself in and out of the starting XI and struggling for goals and assists. But he has hit his stride since 2022 became 2023, managing nine direct goal contributions in his last 16 La Liga games, compared to only four in his first 15.

However, Barcelona’s ongoing financial trouble will make player sales necessary again to raise capital ahead of next season, especially with ambitions to re-sign Lionel Messi.

In that regard, Ansu Fati has already been told he can leave, as reported by 90min.

There is likely to be no shortage of interest in Raphinha. Arsenal wanted the 26-year-old last summer when he was in the process of leaving Leeds and even made contact with Barcelona over both him and Ferran Torres in January after missing out to Chelsea on Mykhailo Mudryk.

The interest from north London in both players still stands, with 90min reporting only last week that Arsenal remain determined to sign a right winger as part of a targeted wider recruitment drive ahead of returning to the Champions League next season for the first time in six years.

Raphinha and Torres each feature on a list of Gunners targets, as does Bayer Leverkusen’s Moussa Diaby. Soon to be free agent Wilfried Zaha is also a secondary option at this stage.

But Raphinha has responded angrily to a post by Fanaticos Por Futebol on Instagram that claimed he has said ‘OK’ to Barcelona listening to offers. The post specifically referenced Chelsea and Newcastle and appeared to have twisted a report originally published by SPORT.

“This is a lie and whoever said that is a liar, uninformed and unprofessional,” he directly replied.

Raphinha’s determination to stay at Barcelona is understandable. As 90min reported last July, he was holding out for a transfer to Camp Nou at a time when Chelsea had already agreed a fee with Leeds. The Blues were tellingly unable to agree personal terms, given that the player and agent, Deco, the former Porto, Barcelona and Chelsea star, were both angling for a switch to Catalonia instead.

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