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Will Bayern Munich sign Raphinha from Leeds United? (Updated)

At the quoted price of 50m, Raphinha would be as expensive as Leroy Sane — an extravagant expense in these times.

Leeds United v Leicester City - Premier League Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

It hasn’t been very long since this news broke, so you’ve probably heard about it already. Per TNT Sports, a large news outlet in Brazil, Bayern Munich are about to sign Leeds United winger Raphinha this winter for ... wait for it ... a staggering 50m euros! Their report is, in fact, rather detailed, claiming that one of Raphinha’s youth clubs is already set to receive a cut of €1.5m from the transfer fee.

Here is the original source for this rumor, if you’re curious:

EXCLUSIVE! According to @brunoformiga, Raphinha will leave Leeds for Bayern in the next window, and the values are around 50Mi euros. A trainer club, Avaí already has its share in the negotiation, which should be 1.5 million euros, in next year’s budget.

They have more information on their website, where they claim that Avai will get 3% of the total transfer fee — a number that’s almost too specific to make up. Either TNT Sports has some real insider info here, or this is a very well-constructed transfer rumor. Per the same report, Kingsley Coman would be sold to make way for the Brazilian — plausible, but contrary to reports that have been coming out of Germany recently.

What does it all mean?

Unlike with most transfer rumors, the German media has not fallen over itself trying to discredit this report from TNT Sports. “Mr. Not True” Christian Falk covered his bases, as usual:

Clearly, he has no idea what’s going on. If he did, he would’ve given us a true/not true — Falk never passes up a chance to flex on another journalist. The other German sources have remained silent on the issue. WHY? What are they not telling us? Maybe they’re just as confused as we are.

Brazzo and Nagelsmann made it clear that Bayern Munich would NOT make any January signings this season, and you’d expect them to keep that promise. After all, being frugal is the need of the hour, with Covid-19 making a comeback in Europe and stadiums closed once again. And even if Covid wasn’t an issue, spending €50m on ANY player would be a huge step for the club. If Raphinha does end up moving for that number, he would instantly become Bayern’s third most-expensive signing, behind Leroy Sane and Lucas Hernandez.

The only way this could happen is, as the original TNT report mentions, if Kingsley Coman leaves this winter, for a number that’s well above Raphinha’s transfer fee. Of course, that would contradict this report:

Still, this rumor is very hard to ignore. The detail included in TNT’s report + their apparent reputation, and the fact that German journalists with proven links to the club are completely silent on the issue, makes it all very compelling.

Think about it from a squad-building perspective — Bayern have plenty of wingers, but Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman are in the middle of difficult contract talks. One or both could leave this summer. If that happens, then Bayern NEED to spend on a new winger, no matter who it is. Of course, there’s always Jamal Musiala who’s always ready to make an impact, but past experience has shown that you need at least four starting quality wingers to make a run for all three competitions every season. If even a single winger leaves next summer, that all-important 4th winger spot becomes empty.

Statistical comparison between Kingsley Coman and Raphinha
Data from FBRef | Radar courtesy of @Irish_Barca and Harsh (FCDiscordelona)

There’s also the chance that Bayern’s front office is trying something unfamiliar — going for a direct upgrade in a position. Maybe, instead of keeping Coman on, they want to sell him and bring in someone who they think can reach an even higher peak. Bayern generally don’t do this type of business — if a player is already performing well for the club, then getting an extension is always the first choice. However, Brazzo has shown that he’s not afraid to spend big when he sees a player he absolutely MUST get. Maybe Raphinha is one of those players?

Guess we’ll have to wait and see. I should remind people that, as we saw with the Sergino Dest rumors, even reliable sources can exaggerate. Maybe there’s nothing to it at all. Hard to say at the moment.


Update

Just a small update from the English media. Doesn’t seem like Bayern have made an approach yet, which makes sense.