“We want him to stay” – Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch expresses desire to keep ‘fantastic’ Raphinha amid Barcelona interest

Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch has revealed that he has not talked to Whites star Raphinha about a potential move to Barcelona. The American, though, is keen to see the 25-year-old stay at Elland Road.

Raphinha has been the subject of serious transfer interest from Blaugrana in recent weeks. The La Liga giants are keen to strengthen their attack in the summer and are said to have identified the Brazil international as a potential recruit.

Barcelona maintain a good relationship with Raphinha’s agent Deco, who used to ply his trade for the club, and have been in talks over a deal for the winger. There have been suggestions that they have even agreed a five-year deal with him.

Raphinha and Barcelona have agreed to personal terms on a five-year contract, according to @sport.The Leeds winger will ignore other offers and do everything on his part to force a move to Barça in the summer. https://t.co/mgnvHi72iJ

As the Catalans continue to be linked with a move for the former Stade Rennes attacker, Marsch has addressed the player’s situation at Leeds. Speaking ahead of the Whites’ Premier League clash with Southampton, the 48-year-old made it clear that he would like to see Raphinha stay in Yorkshire. He told a press conference [via LeedsLive]:

“He [Raphinha] was incredible in the 45-minute test match we had. A massive talent and my challenge is, despite all of the talk outside, is to have the relationship where we can focus on his development in helping the team while he is here. Haven’t had a word with him about Deco or Barcelona.”

“It should be out there because [he] is fantastic. Just want him to become the player I know he can be. Everyone here wants to enjoys the football he can play and of course we want him to stay as long as possible. Fantastic player and very good person.”

Leeds boss Jesse Marsch on Raphinha: “Despite what’s said on the outside, I’ve not said a word to him about Deco or Barcelona – but everyone knows it’s out there. We want to enjoy the football we can play with him here & convince him to stay. He’s a massive talent.” #LUFC

Raphinha, who joined Leeds from Rennes for around €20 million in 2020, has made 27 Premier League appearances for them this season. He has scored nine goals and provided three assists in the process.

Barcelona prepared to offer €50 million for Leeds United’s Raphinha

The Catalans are said to have seen a €35 million bid for Raphinha turned down by Leeds. However, they are prepared to offer a deal worth up to €50 million to price the Brazilian away from Elland Road.

Leeds reportedly want a sum of €50 million to sanction a move for Raphinha. Barcelona are prepared to meet the Whites’ asking price, albeit with the use of add-ons. They are willing to offer an initial sum of €40 million plus another €10 million in add-ons.

Xavi’s side, though, are waiting to see if Leeds survive their relegation battle in the Premier League this season. Raphinha reportedly has a clause in his deal with the club that allows him to leave for €25 million if they drop down to the Championship.

Leeds currently sit 16th in the league table with 29 points from 30 matches. They are currently seven points above 18th-placed Watford, who also have a game in hand.

Edited by Dakir Mohammed Thanveer

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