With Raphinha and Dembele, Xavi's Barcelona rebuild is taking shape

Xavi’s big Barcelona rebuild is taking shape with £63m Raphinha set to join and Ousmane Dembele staying put… and with more assets set to be sold to fund his final move, he just needs Robert Lewandowski to complete his dream front three

  • Barcelona are poised to sign Brazilian star Raphinha from Leeds in a £63m deal
  • The Catalan giants managed to sell off more assets to raise transfer funds 
  • With Ousmane Dembele also set to renew, Xavi is now close to his dream attack
  • He wants Raphinha, Dembele, Ansu Fati and Ferran Torres fighting for two roles
  • Now all that eludes Barcelona is sealing a deal for striker Robert Lewandowski

Xavi’s insistence on wingers, Barcelona’s relationship with Deco and the financially challenged Catalan club being cut more slack by LaLiga are behind the growing confidence that they can keep Ousmane Dembele and sign Raphinha from Leeds in the coming days.

Barcelona were told by LaLiga, in confidence at the start of this month, what their permitted squad spend is this summer and now they are confident they can make Raphinha their first big signing by closing only one of two asset-selling deals they have in the pipeline.

Barcelona have two more big sell-offs close to being confirmed – they will lease 45 per cent of their merchandising arm BLM and close another deal to sell off a further 20 per cent of TV rights over the next 25 years.

Barcelona are poised to finally sign Brazilian star Raphinha from Leeds in a £63m deal

With Ousmane Dembele also set to renew his contract, Xavi is now close to his dream attack

If one of those two options is locked down they will be able to go ahead and sign Raphinha. Sportsmail exclusively reported on Sunday night that they had tabled a late bid worth £63m – £55m, plus £8m in add ons – for the Leeds forward.

The player is being told by his agent, the former Barcelona midfielder Deco who has a good relationship with Barcelona president Joan Laporta, that his preferred option this summer is now looking very much like becoming a reality. 

The Catalan club are also benefiting from having better relations with Leeds than with Bayern Munich.

The Germans have been holding out for their €50m (£42m) asking price for Robert Lewandowski to be paid up front but Barcelona’s relationship with Leeds is more amicable.

When broke-Barcelona stunned football last January by buying Ferran Torres from Manchester City, the Catalan club’s technical secretary Jordi Cruyff was asked by Sportsmail how they managed it. ‘Amortisation’ was his one word answer. 

Installments will be key again if they are to get the Raphinha deal over the line.

Raphinha’s imminent arrival has helped convince Dembele to sign before his offer was taken off the table. The French winger has ultimately had to settle for the same €7.5m (£6.3m) deal offered to him last December.

Now all that eludes Barcelona is sealing a deal for Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski

Free transfers have already been completed for Franck Kessie (right) and Andreas Christensen

Xavi has always made wingers his absolute priority since taking over the club from Ronald Koeman last season. He has fought for Dembele to stay when other voices at the club had wanted him gone. He even insisted on picking him when there were those at the club who wanted him sidelined to force his hand over signing a new deal.

Xavi also requested Adama Traore be brought in on loan last January and that the club make a sizeable long-term commitment to Torres.

With Ansu Fati likely to be fit for the start of next season, Xavi wants Torres, Fati, Raphinha and Dembele competing for the two wide berths in Barcelona’s front three.

But he also wants the experienced Polish international Lewandowski at centre-forward between the wingers.

Barcelona now see that deal as potentially the last they make, because of its difficulty.

Raphinha should come before then, if president Laporta can activate the financial lever to make it happen.




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