Andrea Radrizzani, owner of Leeds United, has admitted he felt ‘ashamed’ to return to his Chelsea counterpart Todd Boehly to inform him that forward Raphinha was headed to Barcelona this summer.
Chelsea, under the leadership of Boehly, agreed on a deal worth around £55 million for Raphinha in June but the Brazilian winger ended up joining Barcelona two weeks later.
The Blues had beaten Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur to the front of the queue when Raphinha’s exit from Leeds looked nailed on.
But Barcelona asked Raphinha to wait until a transfer was financially plausible, leaving Boehly and Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel frustrated in their search for attacking reinforcements this summer.
For Leeds, it was somewhat of a win-win as they pocketed a club-record sum and boosted their potential as a destination where players can go before making a high-profile step to one of Europe’s elite.
However, Radrizzani, who would have rather seen Raphinha, 25, join Chelsea, has addressed his disappointment over how the deal played out.
The Italian has spoken of his embarrassment over having to return to the table with Boehly to withdraw their agreement after Barcelona hijacked Raphinha.
“For me, it was done, and when I have a deal, my word is my word. I felt ashamed to go back to [Chelsea owner] Todd Boehly and change my position,” Radrizzani told The Athletic.
“We made the deal with Chelsea because the player wanted to go, and he was open to listening to offers from Premier League clubs. Chelsea was in his favourable [option]. But unfortunately, let’s say Barcelona’s influences convinced the player to wait, to wait, to wait until they could find a solution.
“This shows again the power and the leverage players and their agents have in the system, which for me is exaggerated, too much. We do a lot of investment to build clubs. We invest hundreds of millions, but all the power seems to be [with] agents and representatives of these players.”