Bielsa gives directions to Raphiha during a Premier League match against Watford. Reuters / Lee Smith.
Through an official statement released in the early hours of this Wednesday, Barcelona announced an agreement in principle for the recruitment of Raphina, which will be confirmed once the player passes the medical review.
The culé club has not provided details on the numbers of the deal with Leeds, but it is estimated that the transfer of the Brazilian forward would be carried out in a base figure that is around between 55 and 58 million euros, plus another 7 million variables.
“FC Barcelona and Leeds United have reached an agreement in principle for the transfer of Raphael Dias Belloi, Raphiha, pending the player’s medical examination,” Barça reported.
Xavi Hernández will thus be able to count on his third reinforcement, after the insertions of Andreas Christensen (Chelsea) and Franck Kessié (AC Milan).
On the Leeds side, this sale is in addition to that of Calvin Phillips, sold to Manchester City for 48 million euros. Total, there are more than 100 million euros between these two playersfundamental for the recovery of a team that is saved from relegation on the last day.
In this way, the English team became the only club in the five major European leagues to surpass that figure in the current market market. And the influence of Marcelo Bielsa in all this is indisputable.
El Loco took over as technical director for the start of the 2018-19 Championship season. His team was eliminated in the playoff semifinals against Derby County, but his footballing idea captivated an entire city and the project continued.
The following year, after the frustration of that wasted opportunity, he achieved the big goal, while it continued to promote young people with a good projection for the future.
From insignificant to global figure
One of them was Calvin Phillips. The 26-year-old English midfielder spent all of his training at Leeds, mainly in the midfield position, but was unable to find his place in the first team and has been placed on a list of transferables.
In this context, the arrival of Bielsa was a drastic change in his career, as it transformed him into a very complete midfielder capable of fulfilling the double function of recovering many balls and, at the same time, giving that first pass in the construction. of the comedies.
Kalvin Phillips and Marcelo Bielsa.
Who better than the Argentine coach himself to describe his qualities, with a surprising comparison: “He has points in common with Diego Simeone. Both have They have a lot of deployment and are comfortable in the midfield battle, but they also have a good eye for passing. He knows how to see the danger and neutralize it, he makes excellent decisions on the pitch “, she praised.
His growth was such that the manager of the English team, Gareth Southgate, summoned him to the European Championship, inserting him as a starter in the final against Italy. The dream of being present in Qatar 2022 remains firm.
Prior to his arrival at City, he turned down an offer from United, which the Rosario manager rated as “a decision of love for the club he is in, which is not a frequent one”.
Raphina, elated after turning a goal with Leeds United. Ruters / Andrew Boyers.
In case of rapinha The situation is different, given that he arrived with the newly promoted and has become a fundamental part of the squad that has earned a precious ninth place in the 2020-21 Premier League.
Bielsa was amazed when the recruiting team led by Víctor Orta introduced him to him. A great football project that had not yet managed to exploit Renneswhich he reached after crossing Portuguese football (Vitoria and Sporting Lisboa).
He saw a lot of potential in him and was full of praise: “He is very powerful, a mixture of speed, explosiveness and suddenness, as well as an unusual talent for imagining the answers and specifying them.”
His qualities, added to the impetus that the Loco has given to his career, leave the results in sight. He is enjoying his best moment after being transferred to Barcelona, one of the best clubs in the world and the one he has chosen at Chelsea. And he has already added the first few minutes with the Tité team, with Qatar around the corner.