Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani has admitted he believed winger Raphinha was joining Chelsea before 'Barcelona influences' took the winger to Camp Nou instead.
Chelsea agreed a £65m fee with Leeds but the 25-year-old Brazilian delayed a commitment to the Blues in favour of waiting for Barcelona's offer, which arrived a few days later, and he eventually got the move he truly wanted.
Speaking to The Athletic, Radrizzani confessed that he wanted to sell to Chelsea and had already agreed a deal with Blues owner Todd Boehly, only to have to pull out of talks later down the line.
"For me, it was done, and when I have a deal my word is my word," the Leeds chief said. "I felt ashamed to go back to Todd Boehly and change my position."
He added: “We had interest from Arsenal, from Tottenham and from Chelsea and from Barcelona. The best deal we agreed was with Chelsea. At the end, the deal which came up with Barcelona was pretty much the same, the way we structured it at the very end. But it took time.
“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 his favourable [option].
“But unfortunately, let’s say Barcelona 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 it seems to be [with] agents and representatives of these players.”
Radrizzani's preference to sell to Chelsea stemmed from concerns that Barcelona did not actually have the money to live up to the terms of their payment plan, which is why Leeds insisted on the presence of a penalty clause which will punish Barcelona if they fail to meet the terms of their agreement.
“It would be ridiculous [if the payments don't come], I could not imagine something like that happening,” he said. “If not, we will have a global case about Barcelona.”