With the summer transfer window on the horizon, Barcelona are starting to ramp up activity as they look to expedite exit operations over the coming weeks so that they can be in a position to sign and register new players.
One player who has been heavily linked with a summer exit is last year’s arrival, Raphinha. The 26-year-old has enjoyed a solid debut season at Spotify Camp Nou, but given the club’s financial circumstances and interest in him from the Premier League, a sale looked likely.
In fact, reports had suggested that Barcelona were ready to sanction his exit if an offer worth €80 million were to arrive, amid strong interest from loaded clubs like Newcastle United and Chelsea.
Now, though, there seems to be a change in stance. According to Javi Miguel of AS, Xavi Hernandez has told Barcelona not to sell Raphinha in the summer and that he counts on the 26-year-old winger 100% for the next season.
It is claimed that the Barça manager held transfer meeting with club president Joan Laporta as well as soon-to-be sporting director Deco, who also happens to be the current agent of Raphinha.
And during those meetings, Xavi made it absolutely clear that he does not want Raphinha to be sold and that the Brazilian international remains a key part of his plans for the next season.
The 43-year-old club legend is of the opinion that it is hard to find a player of the 26-year-old’s profile and quality on the market and is very happy with how the ex-Leeds United ace has performed this season.
Raphinha, so far, has played 46 times across all competitions, producing a return of ten goals and 12 assists in the process. The Brazilian has come up clutch for the newly-crowned La Liga champions time and again, especially during the injury-enforced absence of Ousmane Dembele.
The Frenchman’s injury history is said to be another factor why Xavi wants Raphinha to be retained by the club.
Moreover, even if Barcelona were to receive offers of €80 million for him, the net profit from his sale would not be significant as a significant part of his transfer fee is yet to be amortised.
As such, Xavi has made it clear that he wants Raphinha to stay put at Barcelona in the summer. Instead, the club will now look at other players such as Ansu Fati, Ferran Torres, Franck Kessie, and Jordi Alba, who is on Atletico Madrid’s radars, as possible departees.