Barcelona president puts transfer ‘focus’ on Man Utd star after making Raphinha exchange offer

Joe Williams
Man Utd midfielder Kobbie Mainoo and Raphinha
Kobbie Mainoo and Raphinha could reportedly swap places in the summer.

Man Utd midfielder Kobbie Mainoo is attracting serious interest from Barcelona with Joan Laporta making him a top target, according to reports.

The 19-year-old has had a whirlwind breakthrough season at Old Trafford with the midfielder becoming a key part of Erik ten Hag’s side in the latter part of the campaign.

Mainoo also earned his first England caps and was called up by Gareth Southgate to be part of his squad to travel to Germany for Euro 2024, with Mainoo coming off the bench for the Three Lions in their opening match win over Serbia.

Man Utd finished in a disappointing eighth in the Premier League but they won the FA Cup against arch-rivals Man City in the final, with Mainoo scoring their second goal in a 2-1 win.

Mainoo has earned praise from a number of pundits and former players and Man Utd legend Paul Scholes even went as far as claiming the youngster was “ten times the player” he was when he was 19.

Scholes said on Instagram after the FA Cup final: “Read a few comparisons between me and this kid last week… don’t waste your time, he is 10 times the player I was at 19. Just love the way he receives the ball, the calmness, the awareness of what’s around him and of course big goals in big games. This boy is special.”

And now the England international is attracting admiring glances from elsewhere in Europe with reports in Spain indicating that Barcelona have now made him a priority in the summer.

It is claimed that Barcelona lodged a bid of €10m plus former Leeds winger Raphinha as they attempted to convince Man Utd to sell Mainoo over the summer.

The Catalan giants ‘want to get rid of Raphinha’ and they were hoping that his presence as part of a deal for Mainoo would ‘serve to unblock the agreement’.

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There is no update on whether the bid was rejected or accepted, but presumably the former, and there are fresh claims that Barcelona president Joan Laporta will now make the ‘pearl’ of Man Utd his ‘focus’.

Barcelona plan to ‘follow him closely’ during Euro 2024 with Laporta ‘aware that reaching an agreement with the  Red Devils  will be highly complicated’.

Despite that, the Barcelona president ‘does not want to lose sight of it, because the renewal, with a salary increase, does not come, and this could make the player consider a way out.’