Barcelona winger Raphinha has again signalled his intention to remain at Camp Nou amid strong speculation linking a return to the Premier League.
The 26-year-old joined the Catalan giants last summer in a deal worth up to £55m, having played a starring role for Leeds United for two seasons.
The tricky Brazilian initially struggled to find form at Barca, as he failed to command a regular starting spot under Xavi, but has now tallied up 14 goal contributions in 32 La Liga appearances – a combination of seven goals and seven assists.
Raphinha signed a five-year contract upon his arrival in Catalonia but his future at the club has already been called into question. 90min understands that Arsenal hold a strong interest in taking him back to England, while they are also interested in signing team-mate Ferran Torres.
Newcastle and Chelsea have also been linked with moves – the latter came close to signing Raphinha before he put pen to paper with Barcelona – and the impending return of Lionel Messi from Paris Saint-Germain is likely to have an adverse effect on his playing time.
Amid the ongoing speculation, Raphinha recently hit out at an ‘uninformed and unprofessional’ report that suggested he’d already agreed to move on this summer, and while celebrating the club’s 27th La Liga title success, he again reiterated his desire to stay at Barca and continue winning trophies.
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“I hope to be able to come back one more time,” Raphinha told Barca TV (via Mundo Deportivo) aboard the club’s open-top bus parade, before adding: “…we worked hard for this, we knew what we wanted and to crown the League with this rúa is spectacular. It’s better than I imagined.
“I would ask people to continue supporting us that next season we are going to try something more and go for the maximum titles that we can get”.
Whether or not Barcelona could afford to turn down a bid for Raphinha remains to be seen. The club need to dramatically cut their wage bill if a fairytale return for Messi is to materialise, and they currently can’t even afford to register the new contract of teenage sensation Gavi.
As a result, 90min understands that offers for Raphinha, Torres and Ansu Fati will be considered, with Ousmane Dembele another who would be allowed to leave if a suitable offer came in.