Arsenal’s pursuit of Leeds United winger Raphinha could have potentially hit an obstacle with Manchester City having agreed a deal to sign midfielder Kalvin Phillips.
According to The Athletic and others, the Citizens have had a £45million bid accepted for the 26-year-old England international, with Phillips likely to compete with Spaniard Rodri for a place in Pep Guardiola’s starting XI.
With this deal looking increasingly likely to happen, the West Yorkshire club might decide they don’t want to see two high-profile players leave the club this summer, which could put any potential Raphinha move under threat.
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On the other hand, it does seem like Leeds are preparing for life without their Brazilian talisman, following reports suggesting that they have had an offer of €30million (£26million) rejected for Porto winger Otavio, but are set to make another bid soon that will equal his release clause of €40million (£34.3million).
From Arsenal’s perspective, they have reportedly had an opening offer rejected for Raphinha but are set to return with a much-improved offer in the hope of striking a deal.
It’s not surprising to see why Mikel Arteta is very keen on Raphinha when diving into the current dynamics and system in place. In possession, Arsenal set up in a 2-3-2-3 shape, with the wide players predominately tasked to occupy the last line of defence and stretch the pitch both vertically and horizontally.
It’s imperative that the wide men are able to control long diagonal balls quickly before being direct and remaining successful in 1v1 situations, all of which Raphinha excels in. The former Rennes forward’s profile is suited to the way the current Arsenal team plays and therefore shouldn’t have many issues in adaptation.
Furthermore, it’s crucial that Arsenal improve on their goal tally as they just scraped over the 60-goal mark during the previous campaign. To apply context to this, both Liverpool and Manchester City comfortably surpassed 90 goals.
With Raphinha notching 11 goals in a relegation-threatened side, he is someone who could most definitely elevate the Gunners on this front when considering the increase in player quality he would be surrounded by. Whether a deal happens or not remains to be seen but it’s certainly one to keep an eye on, as both Chelsea and Spurs are reportedly interested in Raphinha as well.
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