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Xavi keen to keep Newcastle and Chelsea target Raphinha at Barcelona

Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernandez has told the future director of football Deco and club president Joan Laporta that he wants to keep Raphinha, according to AS.

Xavi had meetings with the pair and the player’s agent recently and stated that he is 100% counting on the Brazilian international for next season.

Raphinha moved to Spain from Leeds United last summer. He rejected interest from Arsenal and Chelsea to sign for Barca in a deal worth around €60 million.

His debut campaign for the Catalans has had its ups and downs.

His one-man army style has looked out of place in Barcelona’s set-up. His short passing, a hallmark of Barca’s style, is not great.

However, he is a productive attacker even when not at his best. The 26-year-old has scored seven goals and created 14 big chances (five assists) in La Liga to help Barcelona win the title.

He has scored ten goals and assisted 12 more in all competitions.

Raphinha works hard defensively and tracks back relentlessly – a trait managers appreciate.

Newcastle United and Chelsea reportedly still want the former Rennes attacker and he may yet return to the Premier League.

Barcelona have considered the sale as they need money to sort out their financial situation which is preventing them from signing or registering new players.

They put an €80 million price tag on Raphinha and have waited for suitors to make their moves.

However, Xavi’s decision will remove him from the transfer market. He believes they can’t find a player with Raphinha’s quality and profile.

Raphinha is consistently fit and has deputised for the injury-prone Ousmane Dembele.

Barcelona will likely look to sell other attackers like Ansu Fati and Ferran Torres. Jordi Alba and Franck Kessie could also leave the club.

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