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Chelsea join Barcelona, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur in Raphinha race

Chelsea have become the latest club to show an interest in Leeds United winger Raphinha, according to Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano on Twitter.

Raphinha first joined Leeds in the summer transfer window of 2020, arriving from Rennes for an estimated £17 million. He wasted little time in making an impression at Elland Road, recording six goals and nine assists in his debut Premier League season. This form earned him his first call up to the Brazil national team.

The following year, the winger continued to impress in England. He netted 11 league goals, including a crucial opener in the final day victory against Brentford, which proved to be influential in their survival.

The Brazilian’s performances have attracted a lot of attention from some of Europe’s top clubs. Barcelona, Tottenham Hotspur, and Arsenal are all known admirers, while Liverpool have also been linked.

According to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, new Chelsea owner Todd Boehly has also explored the option of acquiring Raphinha’s services.

The Blues are likely to be looking to add more goals to their squad this summer. They were the divisions third-top scorers last season, but netted 23 fewer than champions Manchester City. In addition, Mason Mount was their only player to surpass nine league goals.

The need for new forwards has been exacerbated by the impending departure of record signing Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian has been a huge disappointment on his return to Stamford Bridge, and is set to be loaned back to former club Inter Milan.

Should he make the switch to Stamford Bridge, Raphinha would probably be a starter. He would be competing with Mount, Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Timo Werner, and Hakim Ziyech for regular minutes.

However, Chelsea are expected to face strong opposition for their target, with Tottenham, Arsenal and Barcelona all maintaining their interest.

At the two north London sides, it is unclear whether Raphinha would be in the starting XI. Spurs already have Dejan Kulusevski in his position, while the Gunners have Bukayo Saka. Consequently, the winger could find himself left out.

As for Barcelona, they may looking for someone to replace Ousmane Dembele, who is rumoured to have rejected new contract offers. The former Borussia Dortmund man has just enjoyed arguably his best season in Spain, finishing as La Liga’s top creator with 13 assists.

One stumbling block for La Blaugrana could be Raphinha’s asking price. It is unclear how much Leeds are asking for, but it has been reported to be upwards of £50m. In their current financial situation – and with other targets taking precedence – a switch to the Camp Nou is unlikely.

Leeds have already been busy in the transfer window, bringing in RB Salzburg duo Brendan Aaronson and Rasmus Kristensen, as well as Bayern Munich midfielder Marc Roca. This makes them the Premier League’s third-top spenders so far, behind only Liverpool and Man City.

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