Analysis: Hold or sell? The puzzle of 60 million euros that Barcelona faces with Raphinha


Barcelona won't be the most active in the transfer market this summer, but they will be one to watch. His financial problems prevent him from signing en masse, although for now, only one is targeted: Nico Williams.

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Williams had a very strong Euro 2024, and is having a fantastic season with Athletic Club. He is willing to leave his hometown club to continue his career in Catalonia, meaning it's up to Barcelona to find the money to activate his release clause of 58 million euros. The probability is that a significant sale will be necessary because this can be done, or at least, one will be needed to balance the books after such a large expenditure.

Now, the first candidate to be sold is Raphinha. If Williams joins, the Brazilian winger will find his way to the starting line completely blocked – by Lamine Yamal on the right, and Williams on the left. A player of his value is seen as not good for Barcelona on the bench, especially considering their financial problems. The Catalans have set their asking price to €60 million.

While it is understandable that Barcelona would not want to have such an asset adopting a rotational role, there is room to suggest that the loss of Raphinha would be a massive blow for Los Blaugrana. Last season, he was very good, and was one of his most decisive players throughout the campaign.

It is also important to consider that, going forward, Lamine Yamal should not be played as often as he did in the last 12 months. If he does, injury problems will befall him, as they did with Pedri. As such, it is imperative that good backup options are at hand for Hansi Flick, and Raphinha is exactly that. Not only can he cover on the right, but he is more than capable on the left wing as well. Barcelona would struggle to find a suitable replacement for Raphinha given the amount of money they will receive for his sale.

Another thing that Barcelona will have to consider is that it will not be easy to convince Raphinha to leave, even if he was a backup option for Williams and Lamine Yamal. Now, only Saudi Arabian clubs are showing concrete interest, and the 27-year-old striker has no intention of moving to the Middle East at this stage of his career.

Before considering the sale of Raphinha, Barcelona need to look at selling players who are less essential than the Brazilian – one or two of the central defenders should be moved, especially if Mikayil Faye settles down during the pre-season. There is no doubt that the whole situation will be difficult for the sports director Deco to navigate.

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