Arsenal sporting director Edu is reportedly ‘insisting’ on the signing of Barcelona star Raphinha this summer. The Gunners are still said to be interested in the winger who is now keen on leaving Barca after just one season.
Arsenal missed out on Raphinha last summer when he left Leeds. He joined his dream club Barca for a fee of up to £55million.
Raphinha has appeared in 31 of Barca’s 33 La Liga matches this season, scoring seven goals and registering six assists. He featured more regularly in the absence of Ousmane Dembele, who has only just returned from a hamstring injury which had kept him out since January.
But Spanish outlet Sport claims Raphinha knows he is behind Dembele in Xavi’s pecking order and wants to leave this summer. The potential return of Lionel Messi to the Nou Camp would only make Raphinha’s task harder of getting regular minutes.
The report says there are three offers on the table from Premier League clubs. Chelsea, who also came close to signing the 26-year-old last year, and Newcastle are interested in a deal.
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Arsenal are the third English side keen to sign Raphinha. Their transfer chief Edu is claimed to have regularly called the player’s agent, Deco, in recent months.
Edu is insisting that Arsenal sign Raphinha a year after they first missed out on the player. Raphinha, who is yet to decide which club he wants to join, would likely provide back-up and direct competition to Bukayo Saka for a spot on the right of Arsenal’s attack.
Raphinha’s offers from the Premier League would see his current £10.6million-a-year wages increase. Barca would demand a fee of between £62m and £70.9m for the player.
But Sport says there is also no pressure from Barca chiefs for Raphinha to accept any of the offers on the table. The club’s coaching staff have been impressed with his growth in recent months.
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However, Raphinha is wary that a lack of game time could limit his opportunities with the Brazil national team. He was one of several notable absentees from the Selecao squad for the friendly against Morocco in March, a decision which is claimed to have been a blow to Raphinha.
Raphinha has competition from the likes of Manchester United star Antony and Real Madrid’s Rodrygo for the right-wing spot. Brazil are reported to be close to appointing current Real boss Carlo Ancelotti as their new manager, which could give Rodrygo an advantage over his rival.
Raphinha hasn’t ruled out a late twist for him to decide to stay at Barca. But it currently appears he wants to leave and Arsenal are making a move in the hope of beating rivals to his signature.
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