'Were leading the race': Romano says Chelsea had the best chance to sign £50m PL winger until sanctions hit

Fabrizio Romano added more salt to Chelsea’s wounds by revealing they had been in pole position to sign Raphinha before sanctions struck Stamford Bridge.

Writing on Twitter, the transfer guru gave the Blues an upsetting update regarding the future of Raphinha.

The Leeds United winger is being circled by several elite European clubs, as they look to extract his skills from Elland Road.

His contract does not expire until 2024, yet the likelihood of him lasting that long seems slim.

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Jesse Marsch has stopped Leeds’ slide down the Premier League table, but another season battling against relegation probably won’t suit Raphinha.

Instead, he could be playing Champions League football, thanks to the suitors apparently waiting to snap him up.

Liverpool and Barcelona have been credited with interest.

In fact, Romano stated that Barca has undergone positive talks with the Brazilian’s representative, former Chelsea midfielder Deco.

Photo by George Wood/Getty Images

Has Raphinha been ripped away from the Blues?

Deco could’ve been a vital weapon in pushing Raphinha towards South West London, had Roman Abramovich’s assets not been frozen.

Thomas Tuchel’s employers cannot make any signings until at least Abramovich’s successor is put into place.

This means any plans for the summer window must be put on hold, which includes moving for the Leeds attacker.

Once a new owner is installed, maybe then Tuchel can add to his squad.

But the people at the helm of the club might not be so blasé with their cash as Abramovich was.

They may want to sit tight for at least a campaign and steady the ship before dropping money-laden anchors.

Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images

Raphinha could reportedly cost them up to £50m (Mirror), quite a fee to throw at a player who’s only scored once since the turn of the year.

 Looking at the track record of forwards bought for big bucks (Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner, Alvaro Morata etc) should convince the chain of command to tread with more caution.

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.