FC Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernandez and president Joan Laporta are not currently seeing eye to eye on the potential sale of misfit winger Raphinha this summer, according to reports.
The Blaugrana paid a €60mn ($63.8mn) fee for the Brazilian from Leeds United last year after Laporta famously activated an ‘economic lever’ to make the deal happen.
In the 2022/2023 season, however, the 26-year-old has struggled for regular good form.
Starting life at Camp Nou well, he was soon dropped to the bench in favor of Ousmane Dembele in a four-man midfield system that only allows for one pure wideman.
When the Frenchman picked up an injury against Girona that has kept him sidelined until now, Raphinha initially took his chance to shine with both hands and provided important assists and goals against the likes of Real Betis in La Liga and Manchester United in the Europa League.
Embarking on a tantrum when brought off by Xavi in the 2-2 playoff first leg draw against the Premier
Xavi publicly forgave the outburst, and is said to still back Raphinha despite another poor showing away at the Bernabeu against Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey semi-final first leg on Thursday.
Raphinha was good defensively but lacked the skill to successfully pull off dribbles and pose an attacking threat while often dispossessed by youngster Eduardo Camavinga.
And while Xavi wants the Porto Alegre native to have time to adapt to his new surroundings, this opinion is said to put the manager in conflict with Joan Laporta whose patience is running thin with Raphinha to the extent that he wouldn’t oppose a potential sale according to El Nacional.
Raphinha is said to have a market in England where he has previous experience and where the likes of United, crosstown rivals Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur would be prepared to shell out more than €40mn ($42.5mn) for him.
This cash would facilitate Barca landing Brazilian teen sensation Vitor Roque from Athletico Paranaense, at a time when the club has been warned by La Liga president Javier Tebas that it must shave €200mn ($212.6mn) from the wage bill ahead of 2023/2024.
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