During the summer transfer window, Barcelona experienced the departure of three forwards within a condensed timeframe, resulting in a significant setback to their offensive capabilities.
This series of events commenced when Paris Saint-Germain exercised their option to activate Ousmane Dembele’s €50 million release clause. Despite demonstrating an initial commitment and purported contentment with the club, the French player ultimately made the decision to leave when his home country beckoned.
In the later stages of the transfer window, Ansu Fati and Ez Abde made the decision to depart in hopes of obtaining more playing opportunities. Ansu Fati was loaned to Brighton & Hove Albion for the duration of the season, while Ez Abde departed permanently for Real Betis. Subsequently, Barcelona brought in Joao Felix on loan, who initially showcased promise at the club but has since experienced a decline in performance.
However, an even greater letdown than him has been Raphinha, whose anticipated role as the team’s key player, alongside Robert Lewandowski, has been squandered as he has failed to capitalize on his opportunities this season.
It is rumored that Barcelona does not show significant interest in retaining him, and accordingly, they have placed a valuation of €70 million on his services. It is their hope to offload him either during the forthcoming January transfer window or by the summer of 2024, as reported by FootballTransfers.
According to the report, Barcelona were actually planning to sell him during the winter of 2023, but nobody wanted to buy him because they were asking for a whopping €100 million. Even clubs like Arsenal and Newcastle United, who were really interested, backed off because of the high price.
Chelsea, Newcastle, Arsenal in the mix
Raphinha was initially anticipated to join Chelsea during the summer of 2022, having already reached a mutual agreement on personal terms with the club. However, he eventually opted to pursue a transfer to the Camp Nou instead.
It is anticipated that Chelsea, along with Newcastle United, will remain contenders for his signature in the upcoming year, as both clubs aim to strengthen their attacking options, particularly with Newcastle’s newfound involvement in the Champions League.
Arsenal might be in the running too, but Raphinha will have some serious competition up in North London, where the talented Bukayo Saka has already made himself king of the right-wing.
Raphinha wants to stay
However, Barcelona faces a predicament as Raphinha lacks any inclination to depart from the club at present. He has openly expressed his affection for both the city and the team, indicating his unpreparedness to seek new opportunities elsewhere.
In the previous season, he encountered competition from Ousmane Dembele on the right-wing position. Nevertheless, with the Frenchman’s departure, he no longer possesses valid grounds for relinquishing his spot to the 16-year-old prodigy, Lamine Yamal.
Raphinha boasts a record of participation in nine matches thus far in the current season, with three of those matches seeing him start on the field. In these appearances, he has been successful in finding the back of the net twice and providing one assist. It is worth noting that Raphinha encountered a setback in the form of a month-long absence due to a hamstring injury during this period.