Newcastle 'offer £70 million' for Raphinha according to stunning reports in Spain
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Newcastle United could be set to make the first big deal of the summer transfer window, after putting in a massive bid for Barcelona star Raphinha.
Not many people were predicting that Newcastle would make the kind of quick progress that would lead them to a top four finish at the beginning of this season.
However, Eddie Howe's side have surpassed all expectations and are now almost certain to be playing Champions League football from September.
Already the expectations for next year are being ramped up, and a Supercomputer has already predicted that they'll finish second to Manchester City in May 2024.
Getting second is no guarantee though, with City, Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Aston Villa potential threats for the top four next season.
Eddie Howe will no doubt be looking to strengthen his team in the summer, and with the vast amounts of money from Saudi Arabia behind them it's certainly possible.
They have been linked with potentially being the missing piece to Lionel Messi heading back to Barcelona, and that possibility is now stronger.
According to Spanish journalist Gerard Romero, the club have already offered €80 million to sign Raphinha, just 12 months after he joined Xavi's side.
Last summer, Raphinha was wanted by both Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, having helped keep Leeds in the Premier League.
However, he preferred a move to Barcelona, and left for a reported £50 million, with a further £5 million if certain bonuses were met.
He has seven goals and six assists in 31 La Liga games, for the league leaders, but has only started 21 of those games, whilst Xavi will need to boost funds in order to make signings this summer.
The 26-year-old's departure, for a pretty healthy profit, could help fund Gavi's contract being registered, the return of Messi or any other transfers for the Nou Camp side.
Chelsea flop Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been linked with a return to the club, just a year after he left for west London, which came just six month after he'd moved from Arsenal to Barca.
As usual, the club's poor finances are going to dictate much of what happens at the club in the summer, and Raphinha could be central to it all.