If Arsenal are serious about signing Raphinha this summer, then they may need to borrow a leaf out of Manchester City’s book when it comes to negotiations with Leeds United.
It’s no secret that Mikel Arteta is keen to bolster his attacking options ahead of the new season and despite the Gunners closing in on a deal to sign Gabriel Jesus, they remain interested in the striker’s compatriot. However, they have already seen an opening offer rejected by their Premier League rivals.
Not that it has deterred Arsenal, as they are expected to return with an improved bid. But with Leeds avoiding relegation last season, they are in a strong negotiation position to demand £65m for Raphinha, which according to The Guardian, is the Brazil international’s release clause.
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Whether the north London outfit can drive that price down remains to be seen. The West Yorkshire club’s stance will be strengthened by the knowledge that they are about to lose one high-profile player this summer, with Leeds Live reporting that Kalvin Phillips is close to joining Man City in a deal that could be worth more than £50m.
The move that will reportedly see City initially pay a fee of £42m could be finalised at some point next week, and once it has, Leeds will record the biggest transfer sale in the club’s history as this deal would eclipse Rio Ferdinand’s £30m switch to Manchester United in July 2002.
As a result, if Arsenal are to sign Raphinha this summer, they may need to copy Man City’s approach and activate the winger’s £65m release clause, especially if Leeds refuses to budge on the asking price. If this scenario plays out, then the Gunners would shatter a transfer record that has stood for nearly 20 years at Elland Road.
In fact, as per transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, United’s stance is even stronger now amid the latest developments regarding Phillips: “Arsenal and Tottenham are both still working on Raphinha. Barcelona, no fresh bid as of now,” he wrote on Twitter. “No one reached an agreement with Leeds yet, asking £65m fee, stronger after Kalvin deal. #LUFC Next week can be crucial. Chelsea also called Leeds, but Sterling is the top priority.”
With Arsenal’s summer spending set to reach nearly £90m after Gabriel Jesus and Matt Turner deals alongside the confirmed signings of Marquinhos and Fabio Vieira, Arteta and technical director Edu may need to get creative in order to fund a £65m transfer for Raphinha.
One way to do this is via player sales. Admittedly, this has not been a strong point for the Brazilian since returning to the club in the summer of 2019, but if he can turn things around, there is a £70.4m cash injection he could possibly secure by selling Nicolas Pepe, Lucas Torreira, Hector Bellerin, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Bernd Leno and Pablo Mari.
Given fresh reports from The Athletic that Arsenal will intensify efforts next week to sign Raphinha with more talks planned, it’s also claimed that an increased offer for the 25-year-old is expected. Whether it’s enough to tempt Leeds to sell remains to be seen, but a big bid is likely needed to reach an agreement.
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