Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez has ruled out any potential exit for winger Raphinha this summer amid interest from Arsenal and Newcastle United.
Despite struggling for consistency this season, the Brazilian remains a key component of the squad and Xavi has reiterated his desire to retain him for at least one more season.
TEAMtalk earlier reported that both Newcastle United and Arsenal were preparing big-money bids to lure Raphinha back to England. However, Xavi's decision comes as a big blow to both clubs, who will have to turn their heads elsewhere to sign a winger. The two clubs had previously tried to sign the Brazilian before he joined Barcelona from Leeds United.
Manager Xavi Hernandez has decided to keep Raphinha at Barcelona, saying:
"Raphinha is not on the market. He's staying at Barcelona and will help us a lot. He's a crucial player for me and a really important player. He makes the difference."
Raphinha has had a good first season with the Blaugrana, scoring seven goals and providing seven assists in 35 La Liga games. His performances have put clubs on notice.
Newcastle have done extremely well this season, finishing fourth in the Premier League with 71 points, helping them qualify for the Champions League next season. Manager Eddie Howe will look to bolster his squad ahead of what will prove to be a challenge for the club in terms of depth. The Magpies hierarchy view the Brazilian as the ideal candidate to onboard for their next step.
Arsenal, too, have done really well, finishing second in the Premier League with 84 points, 15 more than they amassed last season. Despite being consistent for two-thirds of the campaign, lack of quality in depth cost the Gunners towards the business end of the season as they conceded the title to Manchester City. Should they decide to go for him, he would provide some incredible depth in the forward positions.
With both clubs in the Champions League next season, it will be interesting to see what a separating factor could be in such a situation.
Taking a look at Raphinha's first season at Barcelona
Raphinha joined Barca from Leeds in 2022 for a fee in the region of €60 million, having previously been courted by several clubs including Arsenal and Chelsea. Having impressed in England, the Brazilian looked all set to take to life in La Liga, and he did.
He made 49 appearances for the Blaugrana across competitions this season, scoring 10 goals and providing 12 assists. He also picked up nine yellow cards, a number slightly on the higher side for a winger. Discipline is something he will have to work on as he is bound to be targeted more by opponents due to his style of play.
The winger ended the season as La Liga champion, as well as winner of the Spanish Supercup. He ended the season with the second-highest goals & assists (G/A) for the club behind Robert Lewandowski.