Leeds United ‘ashamed’ about transfer blow they dealt Chelsea

Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani has opened up on the deal that saw Raphinha join Barcelona, detailing why Chelsea missed out.

Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani has admitted he fully agreed a deal with Chelsea over Raphinha.

The Blues thought they had landed the Leeds winger this summer, only to see him wind up at cash-strapped Barcelona.

Chelsea had everything in place to complete the signing of Raphinha, but days after agreeing a fee, the deal still wasn’t done.

Raphinha was behind the delay, deciding to wait for Barcelona to get the right amount of cash together to do the deal amid huge financial issues at Camp Nou.

Somehow, Barca did indeed find the money, and Raphinha went on to join Barcelona, leading to a phone call between Radrizzani and Blues owner Todd Boehly that left the former feeling ‘ashamed’.

“Barcelona wasn’t in a clear situation to buy players. They were shopping around, but they were not able to complete players financially,” Radrizzani told The Athletic.

“They were active with many players around Europe, not just with Raphinha, but with Lewandowski and many others.

“This created a lot of confusion in the market, because not they were not negotiating with the club, as it is supposed to be, Normally, you talk to the club, so we could not deal with Barcelona because they were not in a position to deal.

“So, we made a deal with Chelsea because the player wanted to go, and he was open to listen to offers from Premier League clubs and Chelsea were in a favourable position.

“But unfortunately, the player, let’s say, Barcelona and their lobby convinced the player to wait and wait until they found a solution.

Raphinha joined Barcelona this summer

“This unfortunately shows the power the agents and the players have in the system which, for me, it is too much.

“We do a lot of investment for clubs, but all the power appears to be on the agents and their players.”

He added: “For me it was done, the deal with Chelsea. When I have a deal, my word is my word. I felt ashamed to go back to Todd Boehly and change the position. For me, it was really disrespectful, but I had no choice.

“For me, if I could have decided not to sell the player, I would have done that, but I didn’t have the choice. For us, it was more important for us to sign six players than to keep Raphinha.

“We have interest from Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea and Barcelona. The best deal, and the deal we agreed, was with Chelsea.

“In the end, the deal with Barcelona was pretty much the same, in the way we structured it, but it was hard.”