FC Barcelona winger Raphinha has reportedly been told to improve his form amid interest from Premier
League clubs in transferring him away from the club.
The Brazil international arrived in Catalonia to great fanfare in the summer after Barca activated an ‘economic lever’ to secure his services for a fee said to total €58mn ($63mn) plus a further €6mn ($6.5mn) in variables.
Raphinha hasn’t been a total disaster in La Liga with a return of two goals and three assists in 16 matches. In the Copa del Rey, his stats are even more impressive with two goals and two assists in two matches, yet the 26-year-old is likely to be snubbed by head coach Xavi Hernandez for Wednesday’s quarterfinal meeting with Real Sociedad in favor of Ousmane Dembele.
Hours ahead of kick off in a meeting between Spain’s two best in-form teams, SPORT ran a report detailing how Raphinha has allegedly been told through his agent and club legend Deco to improve his form.
Though the Blaugrana are aware that every player needs his time to adapt, Raphinha’s performances haven’t been representative of a forward with such a high price tag and at the level that a big club such as Barca expects.
In a meeting with Deco this week, it was explained that the club and Xavi and his staff expect a stronger second half of the season from Raphinha, whose situation will be evaluated again when 2022/2023 has drawn to a close.
If Barca need to seal an important transfer in the summer and Raphinha is still not up to spec, he could be sold for a price equal or higher to what was originally paid for him to a club in the Premier League.
Before Raphinha dragged his heels and waited for an approach from Barca, his former club Leeds United accepted an offer from Chelsea with their cross-city rivals in north London Arsenal also said to have made inquiries about his availability this month.
Though Raphinha wants to stay at Barca above all, it is said that he will “accept any decision” made on his fate.
A mere season seems like a short and unfair amount of time to grant any player when it comes to adjusting to a new league, culture, and outfit of Barca’s scope.
But given Barca’s delicate financial situation, it may be wise to cash in on Raphinha when they can rather than risk his form, confidence and therefore price plummeting.
For less than half the money they paid for Raphinha, Barca could sign striker Vitor Roque who is also able to play on either wing and either pocket the rest of the cash or make further reinforcements.