Meet the 25-year-old Brazil international winger departing Leeds United for a big-money move to the Camp Nou with FC Barcelona.
After nearly five months of negotiations that kept breaking down, Premier League club Leeds United have finally accepted a bid to send star winger Raphinha to Barcelona. The La Liga giants swooped in to hijack a would-be deal from both Arsenal and Chelsea at the last minute after it was seemingly a done and dusted that the 25-year-old Brazil international was heading to London.
According to insider Fabrizio Romano, Barcelona have been the preferred destination for Raphinha since February. Reports point to Leeds rejecting early proposals from Arsenal due to the Gunners being considered both an underwhelming bidder and an undesireable location.
Initial reporting from ESPN suggested that Leeds weren’t willing to part ways with the player for a transfer fee of less than $89.31 million (about £75 million). Now, he joins the Catalan club on a base fee of $59.13 million (£50 million), with add-ons taking the deal up to just over $65 million (£55 million).
Before he makes his way to the Blaugrana, let’s discuss everything you need to know about Raphinha, what it will take for Barcelona to register him as a player on their roster amid financial challenges, and how he fits into Xavi’s team sheet at the Camp Nou.
Raphinha Transfer & Contract Details
Contract length: 5 years
Estimated weekly wages: $119,400 (£101,000)
Estimated annual wages: $6,211,000 (£5,252,000)
Free agency: 2027
Base transfer fee: $59,132,000 (£50,000,000)
Maximum transfer fee: $65,045,000 (£55,000,000)
Estimated market value: $49,500,000 (via Transfermarkt)
Raphina’s Stats Per 90 Minutes
The following statistics show how Raphinha compares to every player across Europe’s top leagues:
|Statistical Catagory||Per 90 Minutes||Percentile|
|Penalty Kicks Made||0.12||91|
|Aeriel Duels Won||40.3%||74|
|Crosses into Box||2.78||80|
FC Barcelona Financial Woes
It’s well documented that Barcelona is batting a serious debt crisis, with their total obligations reaching as high as £1 billion at their peak. Even with a cash infusion from the club’s massive stadium and shirt deal with Spotify and the sale of 10% of their TV rights package, the club remains unable to splurge on top players or retain all of their best talents like they had for years prior — the main catalyst for Lionel Messi leaving the club last season after a legendary 17-year career.
La Liga’s salary restrictions didn’t help the club, either. Last season, Barcelona had a wage spending limit set at $113 million, compared to $334 million a year before. Sports Illustrated reported that Messi alone accounted for a $163 million wage bill.
This summer on the transfer market, Barca have officially agreed to terms with Andreas Christensen from Chelsea, AC Milan’s Franck Kessie, and now Raphinha. However, none of these players can actually be registered with the team until Barcelona can get their financial situation into compliance with their league-ordered salary cap.
Even amid a financial chokehold, Barça have a contract extension in place with Ousmane Dembele and are set on finding a way to sign world-class striker Robert Lewandowski, who wants out at Bayern Munich. The Athletic reports that it would cost something in the neighborhood of £650 million to lock in both players when wage bills and Lewandowski’s hypothetical transfer fee are taken into account.
It won’t be impossible to thread this needle, but to do it, they’ll have to cut loose a significant number of current players on the roster.
How Raphinha Fits at Barcelona
The addition of Raphinha gives the Spanish giants added versatility on the attack, but he’s not just goal-scoring and crossing threat — his high motor and tacking ability make him a plus defender at the winger position. Xavi, a longtime first-teamer at Barcelona and a product of their iconic youth academy, prefers a tactical setup that frequently emphasizes wingers as the catalysts to make key components of the system work.
With this in mind, it certainly doesn’t hurt that the player had long pined for the chance to play for Barcelona. Més que un club, indeed.
He has electric speed and world-class dribbling ability, allowing him to take on a wide range of opponents in one-on-one situations, and is one of the best at his position at advancing the ball long distances thanks to his terrific vision and touch for distributing the ball. That will come in handy, particularly if the club does land Lewandowski, a classic No. 9 center forward who won’t waste opportunities when provided with even adequate service.
Last season, Barça brought Adama Traore on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers, but the player’s lack of shooting touch saw him fade quickly from Xavi’s plans. Raphinha showcases similar pace, but brings greater consistency in putting the ball on frame. Additionally, he’s an impactful set piece taker, a bonus no manager is likely to scoff at.
Fleet of foot with a scorer’s mentality and the ability to ping laser-guided passes all over the pitch, Raphinha has a chance to become a major success at Camp Nou. But for all his measurables, it may be his devotion and belief in the club that ultimately spur a resurgence back to league contention after finishing 13 points behind rivals Real Madrid in 2021-22.