Arsenal are one of the frontrunners in their attempts to sign Raphinha from Leeds United. The Gunners have faced an uphill battle with serious interest from Barcelona, Chelsea and Tottenham.
Arsenal have closed on the signing of Gabriel Jesus after already confirming Marquinhos and Fabio Vieira with Matt Turner shortly expected to follow. Despite their absence from the Champions League, Mikel Arteta and Edu have so far pushed through with their priorities in the summer window.
The difference, and challenge, with Raphinha, is the player’s preference to join Barcelona. As reported by The Athletic, Arsenal’s first bid was turned down by the northern side.
Barcelona have yet to officially enter the race due to their financial restrictions and priorities to sign the likes of Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich. Ousmane Dembele’s future also is of huge significance, with reports suggesting he now could well stay instead of departing on a free transfer.
That said, Raphinha is currently in Spain, on the Spanish island of Ibiza, seemingly on holiday with his agent Deco. As shown by posts to his Instagram story, he has now met up with his agent, former Chelsea and Barcelona midfielder Deco, to enjoy the off-season having been playing with the Brazilian national side.
Thankfully, for any Arsenal supporters panicking that this might be a hint that a potential Barcelona deal seems closer, this does look very much like a recreational visit. Although, it is impossible to rule out any potential talks that could take place with the now nearby Catalan side.
However, the positive from the Gunners’ perspective is the clear and aggressive intent by which they are chasing the player’s signature. One bid rejected, a second in the offing, Arteta wants his business done early so that the players can join up with their new teammates ahead of the US tour and integrate to tackle the new campaign head-on. Hopes will be Raphinha is part of that.