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Man Utd ‘join transfer race’ for Barcelona target Raphinha with Chelsea ‘on standby’ | Football | Sport

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Manchester United are keeping a close eye on the progress of Leeds United winger Raphinha, who has also been linked with the likes of Barcelona and Chelsea in recent weeks, according to reports. The 25-year-old has emerged as one of Leeds’ most influential assets since joining the club in 2020 and will likely command a significant fee if he is sold in the summer transfer window.

He has already chipped in with nine goals and three assists since the beginning of the campaign and looks set to play a significant role in helping Jesse Marsch’s side to avoid relegation between now and the end of the season.

Liverpool were believed to be keen admirers of Raphinha prior to their recent move for Luis Diaz and will reportedly face no shortage of competition for his signature if they decide to act on their interest in his services in the summer.

A handful of top clubs are believed to be circling the Brazil international, who is widely expected to move on if Leeds fail to avoid a return to the Championship at the end of the campaign.

It seems as though United have now joined the growing list of suitors for Raphinha as they weigh up the idea of bolstering their forward line ahead of next season.

The Red Devils are ‘following’ the player’s situation and may decide to launch a concrete bid in order to pip Barcelona and Chelsea to his services, according to Sportitalia.

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It is also claimed that Chelsea are ‘on standby’ to firm up their interest if it becomes clear that Raphinha will move on during the summer months.

However, it remains to be seen whether the Blues will be prevented from making an approach by the government restrictions currently in place at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues are unable to buy and sell players or finalise new contracts after Roman Abramovich was sanctioned in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last week.

Chelsea’s situation could potentially see United and Barcelona go head-to-head for Raphinha, while Liverpool may also be tempted to join the race after expressing a prior interest in landing the forward during pre-season.

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That said, he is known to have a long-standing friendship with Red Devils playmaker Bruno Fernandes, who played alongside the Leeds ace at Sporting between 2018 and 2019.

Raphinha’s agent, Deco, previously confirmed that Liverpool were keen on bringing him to Anfield but insisted that he would not be making a rushed decision over whether to part ways with his current employers in the near future.

“There are certainly many clubs interested in him,” Deco told Globo when quizzed on Raphinha back in October.

“Liverpool do like him and there were some approaches, but nothing official. Leeds wanted to keep him for another season.

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“Raphinha is happy at Leeds, but there will certainly come a time when he wants to take a step up in his career and move forward.

“He has three years left on his contract, but there’s nothing in it that states how long he must stay for or that prevents transfers.

“Leeds are aware of that and will want to sell him for a big sum, while Raphinha will end up progressing in his career.”

Raphinha left Rennes to join Leeds upon their promotion to the Premier League two years ago and has since registered 59 appearances for the Yorkshire outfit in all competitions.

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