Barcelona ‘leading’ Liverpool in transfer battle for £60m international winger

The in-demand forward has impressed since joining the Whites two years ago.

Jurgen Klopp is reportedly keen to add Leeds United star Raphinha to his Liverpool squad - and could use Reds forward Takumi Minamino as a makeweight in the deal.

The Brazil international has become a key figure at Elland Road since joining the Whites in a £17million deal from French club Rennes in October 2020.

Raphinha scored six goals and provided nine assists in 31 appearances in all competitions during his first season at the club and continued his impressive form last season as he earned a first call-up to the Brazil squad.

The 25-year-old made his senior debut in a 3-1 win against Venezuela in a World Cup qualifier last October, coming off the bench at half-time and providing assists for Marquinhos and Antony as his side came from a goal down to take the points.

Raphinha has gone on to make a further seven appearances for the Seleção and grabbed his first goals for his country in a 4-1 home win against Uruguay.

Leeds United star Raphinha has been linked with the likes of Liverpool and Barcelona so far this summer (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

He played a lead role in helping Leeds in their successful battle against relegation last season and scored in their final day win at Brentford at they escaped the bottom three at the expense of Burnley on a tense finale to the campaign.

Potential moves to the likes of Bayern Munich and Manchester United were reported in the media towards the end of the season but it is Spanish giants Barcelona that are said to be leading the race for his signature.

The Mirror have reported Liverpool are also preparing a bid for the Brazilian and could include Japanese forward Minamino in their offer.

After avoiding relegation on the final day of last season, Leeds look set to demand a fee in the region of £60m for their star man.

Raphinha addressed his future over the weekend as he prepared for Brazil’s friendly against Japan.

When asked where his focus lies, he said: “The next game, against Japan.

“Then I go on vacation. I have a contract with Leeds until 2024, my future is in the hands of Deco (his agent) and Leeds, I have my mind on the national team, on the game and also on my vacation - we need a vacation.

“I have a contract with Leeds and this issue is resolved by my manager. When something is right, he sends [it to] me.”