Chelsea are interested in signing Leeds winger Raphinha.
That is according to The Athletic, who also report that Tottenham and Arsenal are interested in the 25-year-old.
While the Brazil international has not requested a new transfer, the Whites have accepted that he won’t sign a new contract, and with his current one expiring in two years, the Yorkshire are willing to sell him if their price is met.
The Blues are also linked with Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele, whose contract expires this summer. The west London club is reported to be his preferred destination.
With that in mind, how does Raphinha compare to the France international?
The former Rennes man has been vital for Jesse Marsch’s side this campaign.
His performances have made him loved among his teammates, with Daniel James calling the 5 foot 9 wide man a “magician”.
“He’s a magician. He’s always been a great player – I played against him at United and he was always great – but he’s improved so much.
“He can do absolutely anything on the pitch. It’s great playing with him.”
The 25-year-old only made his first league appearance in November, but he has since transformed Barca’s season.
Only Real Madrid’s superstars Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr have a higher WhoScored league rating, and the 2018 World Cup winner is in the top 1% of attacking midfielders and wingers in Europe’s top 5 leagues for assists, crosses, dribbles, and progressive carries.
The £27m-rated star is now consistently demonstrating the ability that made former Barca president Josep Bartomeu claim “Dembele is better than Neymar”, and former teammate Lionel Messi dub him a “phenomenon”.
“On the pitch [Dembele] is a phenomenon and it depends on him.
“He has all the opportunity in the world to do what he wants. He can be one of the best.”
Both Raphinha and Dembele predominantly play on the right flank, but even if Thomas Tuchel could find a way to fit them into the same line-up, the west London club will most likely only sign one of the two.
This is because the Blues have greater priorities elsewhere. Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen leaving the club, due to their contracts expiring this summer, means that centre-backs are urgently needed at Stamford Bridge.
With that in mind, it will be a massive benefit if Chelsea could spend as little as possible here so that they can spend elsewhere, which means the Barca winger, who will be a free agent this summer, would be the better option, especially as Leeds are unlikely to let Raphinha go for less than his £40.5m market value.
When you also consider that Dembele has previously worked with Tuchel at Dortmund, he represents the better value for money for the Blues and as such, the German head coach must urge his new owner, Todd Boehly into splashing out on the free-agent rather than the Leeds sensation.