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Al-Hilal Make Huge €100 Million Bid For Raphinha

Raphinha / Getty Images
Raphinha / Getty Images

Barcelona faces the financial dilemma of potentially selling Raphinha to Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia for a lucrative offer.

Raphinha is on track to become one of the levers that will drive Barcelona forward next summer. The Saudi Professional League, which has been trying to lure the Brazilian winger for a year, is back at it. And now, they come with an offer that, economically, is irresistible.

In recent weeks, movements around the Gaucho winger have intensified. Several intermediaries of different nationalities, all with good connections in the Saudi market, have knocked on the doors of Joan Laporta and Deco, conveying the interest of the four major Saudi clubs, controlled by a public fund, in signing Raphinha. Barcelona knows that Raphinha has a market in Arabia and that his sale is absolutely feasible.

According to Joaquim Piera of SPORT, last Saturday that an official offer had arrived at the club’s offices from Arabia, exceeding €80 million, the valuation set by Barça for the player this season. Well, we can confirm that the club interested in Raphinha is none other than Al-Hilal, which boasts Neymar Jr. (still recovering from his cruciate ligament injury) as their figurehead, led by the charismatic Portuguese coach, Jorge Jesus, and has just set a world record for the professional team with the most consecutive victories. The Riyadh-based club is going all in. They are willing to reach €100 million, including fixed and variable fees, for the transfer. It’s a financial injection that Barcelona cannot afford to overlook.

Raphinha arrived in the Catalan capital in the summer of 2022. The Blaugranas paid €57 million, matching the agreement Leeds United had reached with Chelsea. The Brazilian signed for five years, so by July 1st, when the market opens, €22.8 million will already have been amortized.

His sale would bring in significant accounting profits that Barcelona, in a reconstruction phase on all fronts, cannot afford to relinquish. They have to tighten their belts until they achieve the revenues that the launch of the new Spotify Camp Nou will bring.

This season, ‘Rapha’ has a salary reaching €5.5 million net. Al-Hilal is willing to triple this figure. From a financial point of view, all parties involved stand to benefit greatly. Barcelona will have to offload players when this season ends, regardless of the team’s final sporting outcome under Xavi Hernandez. Economics dictate, and there will be several major sales. Internally, the decision has already been made.

In theory, the players the club would like to sell for strictly financial reasons are ‘clean sales’ of those players who do not need to be amortized because they joined as free agents (this group includes Andreas Christensen or Íñigo Martínez) or who come from the youth categories (like Ronald Araujo, signed from Uruguayan club Boston River, who is attracting interest from Bayern Munich). Frenkie de Jong is a special case.

The figures involved in Raphinha’s move to Arabia present a new scenario. It’s an operation that the club will consider separately due to its impact because it would significantly improve the financial results. Raphinha doesn’t want to leave Barça, and Deco, who was his agent throughout his career, knows his former protégé’s stance, now leading him as a sporting director.

Barcelona has rejected offers for the Gaucho winger so far based on sporting reasons, knowing that the Brazilian international wouldn’t budge.

Deco continues to argue that Lamine Yamal needs direct competition to keep growing and reach the status of a superstar that the football world already assumes for him. And ‘Rapha’ is willing to accept this role and fight for a starting position.

However, the fact that Barcelona is considering the Brazilian’s departure is not due to sporting reasons, but financial and economic ones. And here, the scenario changes radically from the club’s stance in the last two transfer windows.

If Barcelona activates the ‘Raphinha lever,’ they will have to convince the interested party that a change of scenery would be best for everyone. It won’t be easy. And the club is fully aware of that.