Raphinha: Leeds owner comments on Barcelona hijacking Chelsea's move

Raphinha in action for Barcelona

Leeds United’s owner, Andrea Radrizzani, has spoken out about Barcelona hijacking Chelsea’s move for Raphinha in a fascinating interview.

Chelsea were believed to be very interested in the Brazilian’s services and were close to a deal.

However, despite Barcelona’s financial troubles, they managed to strike a deal with Leeds and eventually signed him in a £55 million deal.

Radrizzani, speaking to The Athletic, has now given the ins-and-outs about Raphinha’s transfer to the Catalan giants.

The Leeds owner revealed that they had an agreement with Chelsea, only for Raphinha to change his mind and go to Barcelona instead.

He said: “Barcelona wasn’t in a situation to buy players. They were shopping around but were not able to confirm the deals because their financial situation was not clear.

“They were very active with many players in Europe, [Robert] Lewandowski and many others. This created a lot of confusion in the market.

“We couldn’t deal with Barcelona because they weren’t in a position to deal. So we made a deal with Chelsea because the player wanted to go and he was open to listening to offers from Premier League clubs.”

Raphinha chose Barcelona over Chelsea
SANT JOAN DESPI, SPAIN – JULY 15: FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta and Raphael Dias Belloli ‘Raphinha’ pose for the media as he is presented as a FC Barcelona player at Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper on July 15, 2022 in Sant Joan Despi, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

“For me, it was done [Raphinha to Chelsea], and when I have a deal my word is my word,” Radrizzani added.

“I felt ashamed to go back to Todd Boehly and change my position.

“Chelsea was in his favourable [option]. But unfortunately, let’s say Barcelona influences convinced the player to wait, to wait, to wait until they could find a solution.

“This shows again the power and the leverage players and their agents have in the system, which for me is exaggerated, too much.

“We do a lot of investment to build clubs. We invest hundreds of millions but all the power it seems to be [with] agents and representatives of these players.”

View The Athletic’s full 14 minute interview with Radrizzani below… (Raphinha comments start at 7:13)

Radrizzani also admitted that Barcelona have not yet paid for Raphinha. They have been set a deadline of September 2 in order to cough up the money.

If Barca don’t pay by then, Radrizzani has confirmed that the Premier League club will take legal action.

“I don’t know behind the scenes and where they found the money and how it works. It’s not clear.

“I’ll tell you on the September 2 [whether they paid for Raphinha]. If not, we will have a global case.”

Whether Barcelona are able to pay for Raphinha by the deadline, only time will tell.

It seems some serious action will be coming their way if they aren’t able to do so.

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