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Raphinha’s Barca future hangs in the balance with Chelsea & Newcastle lurking

The long-term future of Barcelona forward Raphinha is once again under the spotlight amid unwavering interest from Premier League duo Chelsea and Newcastle United.

According to SPORT, the Spanish champions will have a decision to make next summer if there is no drastic improvement in the Brazilian’s mediocre performances.

Barca are third in La Liga, four points behind league-leading overachievers Girona. They are also joint leaders in their Champions League Group H and are on the verge of sealing last 16 qualification.

However, their performances over the last couple of games have come under increased scrutiny, although injuries have played a crucial role in their worrying on-field decline.

Raphinha has been highlighted as one of several players yet to bring his A-game, and internal discussions about his future at the club are gaining momentum as Barca assesses the overall effectiveness of the squad.

SPORT understands that the financially beleaguered Spanish heavyweights could sanction his exit next summer, but his market value will be crucial in the decision-making process. 

Raphinha was heavily linked with a departure last summer amid concrete interest from Newcastle and a handful of approaches from the free-spending Saudi Arabian clubs.

However, owing to his long-term affection for the club, the Brazil international opted to remain with the Blaugranas – a decision supported by sporting director Deco.

Following the departure of Ousmane Dembele, Raphinha was expected to take the reins at right wing. But his campaign has been plagued by injury problems that have significantly hampered his productivity.

The 26-year-old has produced just two goals and three assists in 11 appearances this season, creating two big chances, but Barca want to see more from their €65 million forward.

If there is no significant improvement in his performances, Barca may be forced to listen to offers for the Brazilian, who still has admirers from the Premier League.

Both Newcastle and Chelsea have expressed sustained interest, with the latter having made a previous attempt to sign him after his successful stint at Leeds United.

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