Brazilian star Raphinha will become an FC Barcelona player in the coming hours. Leeds United accepted a $67 million bid (including bonuses) for its star player, and expects the move to become official soon.

Raphinha
Raphinha will sign a five-year contract with FC Barcelona. (Image: Twitter/deadlinedaylive)

Raphinha trained at Thorp Arch on Tuesday, but is expected to travel to Barcelona today for his medical and official announcement at the Catalan club. The 25-year-old enjoyed an impressive two seasons at Leeds, scoring 17 goals and assisting another 12 in 65 matches. He moved to Elland Road from French side Rennes in 2020 in exchange for around $22 million. Previously, he played for Sporting Lisbon, Vitoria Guimaraes (both from the Portuguese top-flight), and Avai in his native country.

Before cutting a deal with Barcelona, Leeds had an agreement in place with Chelsea for the Brazilian. Raphinha, however, wanted to wait for an improved offer from the Catalan giants, and Leeds didn’t pressure him into accepting a move to London. In June, Arsenal also expressed interest in signing Raphinha, who had two more years to go in his Leeds United contract.

At Barcelona, he’s expected to sign until 2027. Raphinha is Barcelona’s third summer signing after Franck Kessie (AC Milan) and Andreas Christensen (Chelsea) came no cost. Barca’s priority now is signing Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich. Ousmane Dembele is also close to agreeing to a new contract at Camp Nou after his previous deal expired on June 30.

Sport.es - FC Barcelona
Catalan paper Sport opened its printed edition on Wednesday with the announcement of Raphina’s transfer. (Image: sport.es)

Can Barcelona challenge Real for La Liga’s crown?

Real Madrid won the previous La Liga edition with a comfortable 13-point advantage over Barcelona. Xavi’s revolution at Camp Nou is supposed to raise the Blaugrana’s chances of giving Real a proper fight next season. The bookies see Real as the favorite to win the league, but Barcelona is right behind in the odds race.

Real is at +120 to triumph again in 2023, with Barcelona at +150. Atletico, the 2021 champion, is at +400, while Sevilla (at +2000), Villarreal (at +5000), and Real Sociedad (at +6000) are regarded as unlikely challengers.

Barcelona kicks off its La Liga campaign on Aug. 13 when Rayo Vallecano comes visiting. Real Madrid plays a day later, on Aug. 14, against newly-promoted Almeria.

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