Reliable journalist Ben Jacobs has revealed that Arsenal are set to hold ‘talks’ with Leeds United ace Raphinha this week over a potential move to the Emirates.
The Lowdown: Opening bid rejected
The Brazilian was a standout performer in what was a disappointing season for the Whites, and despite Jesse Marsch’s side avoiding relegation from the Premier League, he has now been linked with a summer switch away from Elland Road.
Barcelona links have of course been doing the rounds, alongside English top-flight teams Tottenham, Chelsea and West Ham, but it’s the Gunners who have emerged as the main suitor in the race for his signature.
Mikel Arteta’s men saw an initial offer for the winger rejected by Leeds last week, and it sounds like a second attempt may not be far away.
The Latest: Arsenal set for Raphinha talks
Taking to Twitter, Jacobs confirmed that Arsenal are very much interested in a deal for Raphinha and are set to hold talks with his agent later this week. He wrote:
“Told Arsenal have not ‘pulled out’ of trying to sign Raphinha.
“Raphinha does want to see if a Barcelona deal is possible (Camp Nou move always been of appeal). It’s complicated and may require Ousmane Dembele to leave, hence why this week is key.”
In a further tweet, the reporter continued:
“Raphinha’s representatives haven’t blanked EPL suitors. Arsenal have further talks scheduled with them this week.
“Leeds will hold out for around £60 million. Barcelona need to find those funds. Raphinha wants to assess all options, and one of them remains Arsenal.”
The Verdict: International advantage
Arsenal will be hoping that they will be able to beat their rivals to Raphinha when they take a second bite of the cherry, and they could already hold a huge advantage over their competitors in the race for his services.
The 25-year-old, who hailed a “technician” and “pleasure to watch” by BT Sport pundit Joe Cole, is a member of Brazil’s international squad, as are current Gunners stars Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Magalhães, and so their existing connection could play a significant role in convincing him to put pen to paper.
The next few days are likely to be crucial in terms of developments, but with 14 goal contributions in the Premier League to his name last season, Raphinha has the required cutting edge in the final third to be a brilliant attacking addition to Arteta’s starting XI next campaign.