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Barcelona set to sign Raphinha from Leeds in €71m deal

Raphinha set for Barcelona move

Barcelona are a physical away from confirming the signing of young Brazilian winger Raphinha from Leeds United for €71 million (£58m). Barcelona have signed a lot of players for exorbitant fees in recent years and that has put them in some financial troubles. While Raphinha is a young talent, it feels like the Spanish giants are overpaying yet again and they still haven’t learned their lesson from signing Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann.

The post-Lionel Messi era in Barcelona hasn’t gone as successfully as they would’ve hoped, and while they finished second in La Liga last year, they aren’t at the level their fans believe they should be at. Barcelona are in the process of a big shift where they are trying to bring in young talent to set up a generation of players, but it hasn’t gone as swimmingly as they might have expected.

Regardless, they have signed a new winger, and while it is an overpay, Raphinha can be an impact player for them. Last year, in the Premier League, Raphinha played 35 games and finished the season with 11 goals. For a hapless team like Leeds, Raphinha was frequently the only bright spot and his left-foot finishing frequently caught the eye.

Raphinha is expected to start on the right wing with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the centre and Ansu Fati on the left. It’s a long way off the days of Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez, but Raphinha and Fati are young players who can develop into elite talents. People have become so accustomed to Barcelona’s dominance that this rebuild has been a bit of a shock to the system for soccer fans everywhere.

It remains to be seen if this is the end of Barcelona’s business in this summer transfer window, although it is confirmed that Barca are trying to sell Frenkie De Jong. The Dutch midfielder is one of the best young talents in the world, but he has massive wages that Barca are struggling to justify. The issue is, De Jong doesn’t want to leave, and while Barca have a deal lined up with Manchester United, the player keeps vetoing the move. This is a developing situation that is far from being settled.

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Either way, Barcelona are going to be an interesting team next season. They will have a bunch of players under 21 years old in their starting 11 and will be hoping they can fill in the gaps their veterans can’t. They are trying to start a new era and are now in the midst of an identity crisis. A lot of the Barca stalwarts over the years have left, and only Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba and Gerard Pique remain from the Barcelona Champions League victories of years past.

Barcelona are, of course, one of the favorites to win La Liga next year, paying +137 at Bovada to win the title. That is right behind Real Madrid at +110, and as things stand, Madrid are the better bet. Real have a way better roster, and while Barcelona could catch them if everything works out, projecting all their young stars to shine at once is quite a risky proposition. Also, Atletico Madrid have substantially longer odds than Barcelona and we’d argue they have a better chance of winning the title than this upstart Barcelona team.

Barcelona are also +1600 to win the Champions League, and that simply isn’t worth it. This isn’t the Barca team of years past, and while the public may be tempted by the name, they aren’t an elite side anymore. While that can change over the course of this coming season, we aren’t counting on it.

All in all, the signing of Raphinha is a good yet unnecessary piece. While he could certainly become a reliable starter, there is also a high chance he is yet another young, overpriced winger who struggles for game time. Barcelona haven’t been very wise in the transfer market over the past few seasons and this signing could be another one added to their list of failures.

While Raphinha showed flashes of brilliance with Leeds last year, it’s hard to rely on him for consistency and, ultimately, that’s what Barcelona need most. Barca will always have a talented team, but it is the players who can handle the season-long grind that will take them back to elite teams of Europe. Right now, they are struggling for players like that, and Raphinha doesn’t appear to be one of those guys.

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