Newcastle United have the perfect £43m Miguel Almirón replacement in their sights for next summer
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A flying winger who has lit up the Premier League in the past could well be on his way back to England, at least according to a report from Spanish outlet Sport – Barcelona wideman Raphinha may have reached the end of his career in Catalonia, and Newcastle United could be the club that benefit.
The report suggests that the former Leeds United man is on the way out despite still having three and a half years left to run on a contract estimated to be worth £205,000 per week, and despite his playing a key role in Barcelona’s title win just last season. The emergence of Lamine Yamal has reduced his role in the squad, and now he’s seen as expendable and a way for Barcelona to recoup some of the cash they are so perennially short of.
According to Sport, Newcastle bid for the Brazilian over the summer but couldn’t reach an agreement – but now, with Barcelona keen to sell and Newcastle needing a long-term replacement for Miguel Almirón, who came close to leaving for Saudi Arabia this January, the deal could well be rekindled.
They aren’t the only Premier League club mentioned in the article, with Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur both namechecked, but Newcastle seem the most likely destination, if only based on their need for fresh blood on the right wing. The left-hand side of their attack is well stocked with both Anthony Gordon and Harvey Barnes available, but Paraguayan forward Almirón is the only regular face on the right – even if he stays, signing Raphinha would make a great deal of sense.
The obvious question is whether Raphinha is still as good as he was when he lit the league up with Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds. He scored 11 goals and picked up three assists in the 2021/22 season and managed 15 goal contributions the year before, exceptional numbers by any standards and especially given that Leeds flirted heavily with relegation in the latter of the two seasons – but Sport’s verdict on him is not necessarily the most generous.
“He is a player who always tries even if things don't work out for him”, they opine. “His commitment is total, but at Barça they understand that he must do something more.”
Which seems a rather harsh summary when you look at the numbers behind his brief stay in Catalonia. He bagged seven goals and seven assists last year and has picked up eight goal contributions so far this campaign despite his minutes being limited by the wizardly little Lamal – that equates to getting more than one goal or assist for every 90 minutes he plays. That is an exceptional rate of return.
He hasn’t lost any of his sparkle with the ball or his knack for finding space, either. Since joining Barcelona, he has averaged over five shot-creating actions per game and found room to receive over 13 forward passes per match, both of which are stellar numbers. Still only 27 years old, there is no indication that has lost a step or is anything other than the dangerous forward he was at Elland Road.
If you want to make an argument against Raphinha, it might be that he hasn’t tended to get his goals and assists in the biggest games. His only assists in the Champions League since his transfer have come against Viktoria Plzen and Royal Antwerp, and he has yet to score in Europe’s biggest competition, although he did register against Manchester United in last year’s Europa League. His domestic goals have also tended to come against weaker opposition – in his matches against Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid and Real Sociedad, for instance, he has a combined total of one assists.
But it is hard to see his fall from grace at Barcelona as anything other than a consequence of Yamal exploding onto the Spanish football scene with such extraordinary force. The teenage sensation is the apple of the Barcelona supporters’ eye, and with good reason. Perhaps it’s reasonable Raphinha to have slid to second place in the right-wing pecking order for his club, but it’s worth noting that he remains a regular starter for Brazil, even if his country have not got off to the best start in their 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign with him in the line-up.
Putting his numbers side-by-side with Almirón, however, strongly suggests that Raphinha would be an upgrade, as beloved as ‘Miggy’ may be on Tyneside. Raphinha shoots more, scores more, creates more chances, beats his man with the ball more often and finds more space. The only areas in which Newcastle’s favourite Paraguayan can claim superiority are in passing accuracy and tackling success rate, hardly the key metric for a forward.
The Sport report doesn’t mention a fee, although it’s likely that Barcelona won’t hold out for too much money. Transfermarkt guesstimate his value at €50m (£42.7m) but the Catalans are cash-strapped and in constant need of new financial breathing space to make signings. They would likely settle for less just to get Raphinha off the books now that he has been deemed surplus to requirements. In Barcelona, you either become a firm fan favourite or you’re expendable, and they have very little leverage when it comes to bargaining.
Clubs like Chelsea, Spurs are perhaps others could just as easily see that Raphinha offers some serious quality, of course, but Newcastle seem to be the obvious landing spot for the Brazilian. He needs minutes at a big club, they need a right winger with pace, ball skills, an eye for goal and the work ethic to get involved in an intensive high press for 90 minutes. It’s an almost perfect fit, and a deal that Newcastle would be wise not to pass up on.