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Leeds have agreed a deal “in principle” with Barcelona for the sale of Raphinha.

The Premier League club’s announcement would appear to have ended Chelsea’s hopes of signing the Brazil winger.

Leeds said: “We can confirm that an agreement in principle has been reached with FC Barcelona for the transfer of Raphinha. The player will now undergo a medical in Spain.”

Chelsea had a reported bid of £60milion accepted by Leeds at the end of last month after an earlier offer from Arsenal had been rejected, but Raphinha made clear Barca was his preferred destination.

After Leeds refused to budge on their asking price, the cash-strapped Catalan giants, who have also confirmed an agreement has been reached for the 25-year-old, finally appear able to finance the deal.

Raphinha’s career has been on a steep upward curve since he signed with football agent Deco, the former Portugal midfielder, and moved to Europe from Brazilian side Avia in 2016.

Brief stints in Portugal with Vitoria Guimaraes and Sporting Lisbon led to a move to France in 2019 with Rennes, who Raphinha helped qualify for the Champions League in his only season in Ligue 1.

Raphinha (white vest) was hugely popular among Leeds ans after two seasons at Elland Road
Raphinha (white vest) was hugely popular among Leeds ans after two seasons at Elland Road (John Walton/PA)

Leeds snapped him up for a reported fee of £17m plus add-ons in 2020 following their return to the Premier League and Raphinha proved an instant hit at Elland Road.

Under former head coach Marcelo Bielsa, Leeds marked their return to the top flight with a thrilling brand of football and Raphinha was a stand-out performer.

His mesmeric wing play earned him his first call-up for Brazil in October last year and he made his debut off the bench, providing two assists in a 3-1 World Cup qualifying win in Venezuela.

Raphinha earned more rave reviews after his second start for Brazil a week later as he scored twice and made another assist as they beat Uruguay 4-1.

He scored 17 goals in 60 Premier League games for Leeds and will be hoping to add to his three goals in nine appearances for Brazil at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.