Good Morning. It's Thursday 30th June, and here are the latest headlines from Elland Road...
Barca attempt to hijack Raphinha deal
Chelsea’s hopes of completing the £60m - £65m capture of Raphinha appear to have suffered a major blow, after his representative Deco was spotted leaving Barcelona’s offices alongside Mateu Alemany and Enric Masip (advisor to Barca President Joan Laporta) yesterday lunchtime.
Having agreed a deal totalling £65m, Leeds gave Chelsea their blessing to discuss personal terms with the Brazilian forward, theoretically ending months of speculation, linking him to the Camp Nou. Unfortunately, nothing is straight forward as far as Raphinha is concerned. Barcelona and Deco have been plotting behind Leeds Utd's backs for most of the year, but do not have the funds to complete the purchase, prompting both Arsenal, and now Chelsea to create a bidding war for the 25yo.
It is feared that Barcelona may try and persuade Raphinha to hold tight until after the World Cup in January, when his contract will have only 18 months to run. This could have a detrimental effect on his asking price!
Come home Gjanni
Social media lit up yesterday afternoon, as it was confirmed that Ezgjan Alioski had terminated his contract with Al-Ahli following their relegation from the Saudi Pro League. The likeable North Macedonian International gained cult status during his four-year stay at Elland Road, where he made 161 appearances, netting 21 times. He was nicknamed the 'Duracell bunny' as he covered every blade of grass, and never stopped running. He was a popular member of the squad too. Many times, the (now) 30yo would pull pranks, much to the amusement of the Elland Road faithful.
Gjanni is now looking for a new club, with many suggesting that he could have a part to play should he come back to Leeds next season. Would you like to see him back at Elland Road, or would he be another player who doesn't quite hit the mark?
Leeds focused on Gakpo capture
Dutch winger Cody Gakpo has emerged as the most likely candidate to replace Raphinha, as long as Leeds can convince the 23yo to join. This won't be easy, as a host of European Clubs including AC Milan, Arsenal and Spurs are also all vying for his signature. Current club PSV are not in a hurry to let one of their star players leave the Phillips Stadium. Having netted 21 times last season, and 15 assists, the Dutch Giants have offered Gakpo a lucrative new contract, to convince him to stay. The lure of the Premier League may be too good to turn down, and according to PSV journalist Elfrink, Gakpo is already in talks with Leeds about a £34m (€40m) move to West Yorkshire...
‘Gakpo is in talks with Leeds’, who will need to smash their transfer record to sign the winger.'