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Raphinha unnoticed of Leeds pre-season squad as Chelsea battle Barcelona for transfer | Football | Sport

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Leeds have confirmed that star winger Raphinha won’t travel to Australia with the remainder of the squad for this summer’s tour Down Under as speculation around his future intensifies. The 25-year-old is on the centre of a transfer battle between Chelsea and Barcelona, with either side eager to get their hands on the ace.

The Leeds squad returned for pre-season training at the top of last month after securing their place within the Premier League on the ultimate day of last season. And after thrashing Blackpool 4-0 in a friendly on Thursday evening, the Whites are set to face Brisbane Roar, Aston Villa and Crystal Palace in Australia.

On Friday, reports circulated which stated Raphinha had asked Leeds chiefs for permission to miss the tour Down Under within the hope of finalising a move away from Elland Road. And the attacker has got his wish.

Leeds announced their 26-man squad for the trip to the opposite side of the world on Saturday afternoon as they published the list of players included on their website. But Raphinha was a glaring omission because the Yorkshire club confirmed that players not travelling to Australia will proceed pre-season preparations at Thorp Arch.

Raphinha joined Leeds from Rennes in October 2020 after the Premier League giants shelled out an initial £17million to prise him away from France. And he has since change into a person in demand after illustrating his prodigious talents over the past two years.

The tricky winger bagged six goals and nine assists within the Premier League during his maiden campaign in England before adding one other 11 top-flight goals and three assists last time around.

Chelsea have already had a £60m offer for Raphinha accepted by Leeds. But Barca have now matched the bid, although they may must pay in instalments on account of their precarious financial position. Raphinha is seemingly holding out for a move to the Nou Camp. So if Leeds are willing to work with Barcelona to get a deal over the road, the Brazil international could soon be heading to Spain.

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