Leeds United pulled off a bit of a coup when they brought Brazilian international striker Raphinha into the club from French Ligue 1 side Rennes.
The now 25-year-old impressed at Premier League level following his £17 million arrival in England and in his two year spell with them, 67 appearances in total across all competitions returned 17 goals as 12 assists. Following on from plenty of speculation, Raphinha finally secured his dream move to Spanish and La Liga giants Barcelona for a whopping £55 million fee with add ons included.
Having completed the move in mid July, and having been unveiled to fans at the Catalan club’s training ground, it was revealed he had signed a contract up until the summer of 2027 with an incredible 1 billion Euros buyout clause.
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Speaking at his unveiling, Raphinha explained.
“It’s a dream come true since I was a kid. I’m going to give my best.”
With players across Europe now having largely all returned to pre season training as the big kick off to the coming 2022/23 domestic campaigns draw ever nearer, Barcelona fans will already be liking what they have seen from him.
Having made his maiden bow for them in Wednesday’s pre season friendly with United States MLS side Italian side Inter Miami out in Fort Lauderdale, Florida at the DRV PNK Stadium (Drive Pink Stadium for anyone who wants to pronounce it) where he found the net 25 minutes into the game in what turned into a 6-0 victory, Raphinha went one better in Sunday’s much tougher friendly clash with fellow La Liga rivals Real Madrid at the Allegiant Stadium out in Las Vegas, as he broke the deadlock 27 minutes into that match, in what proved to be the decisive goal in a 1-0 victory.
Fans of the Blaugrana will be particularly pleased with this result at such an early stage of the campaign having missed out on the Spanish title in the 2021/22 season, and there are no doubts that the club are battling hard to taste success again this summer.
With two goals in two games, Raphinha looks like he’s settling in well, but the Real Madrid game also saw the debut of former Bayern Munich and Poland striker Robert Lewandowski and with reported moves still on the cards for Sevilla’s Jules Kounde and Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva, (and Barcelona might not be finished there) clearly the club are pushing hard to ensure that they finally replace former magician and clear legend Lionel Messi and re-establish their dominance over their numerous Spanish rivals.
For those who do not follow the club closely, eyebrows will again be raised at the transfer spend with Barca shelling out an extra £42.6 million for Lewandowski despite it being well known that they are in significant debt – £1 billion in fact – but the current splurge for success is based on very clever deals by club president Joan Laporta – now known as economic ‘levers’ after the exceptional measures were voted through by club members – which have allowed the club to raise a significant cash injection this summer.
This was achieved by first selling 10% of their domestic television rights for the next 25 years to United States investment fund Sixth Street in return for an upfront fee of around £200million. That already more than covers their spending so far, with plenty of change to spare. On top of that, they have more recently announced that they have sold a further 15% of those rights to Sixth Street which has reportedly gained them an extra £300 million.
It seems the club are not finished there as there is also talk of selling 49.9% of the club’s merchandising operation in the more near future as well and it is speculated all three of these deals would bring the cash injection up to more than £600 million.
However, with reduced long term income issues, Laporte’s moves are a massive gamble and nobody can predict what will happen in the future.