After a very hectic few days full of transfer activity, Arsenal are letting us all have a bit of a breather. Fabio Vieira arrived from FC Porto for £34m, while bids were made and subsequently rejected for Ajax’s Lisandro Martinez and Leeds United’s Raphinha, according to various reports.
However, things arent stopping there with technical director Edu said to be continuing talks for Martinez and Raphinha, while it’s suggested negotiations to sign Gabriel Jesus are ‘advanced’.
Although there seems much to feel positive about, it is the intensifying links to Raphinha that supporters are most excited by. The 25-year-old Brazilian has been a standout for Leeds and arguably their best player since arriving in 2020. He has 17 goals and 12 assists to his name in England, but his pace, tricky feet and technical quality mean he is one of the most talented wingers currently in the league.
London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea have also been linked, but Mikel Arteta is thought to be a serious admirer of the player, who is reportedly valued at around £65m. With this in mind, The Arsenal Way decided to speak to the creator of One Leeds Fan Channel, Conor McGilligan, to discuss the latest on the potential deal and what Leeds fans make of it.
To kickstart the show, host Bailey Keogh asked Conor how good he thinks Raphinha is and judging by his answer. It’s clear to see why the Gunners are showing such strong interest.
“To be honest, Bailey, I mean obviously we were in the abyss, Leeds United, for around sixteen years, but I was lucky enough to see third-place finishes, a title challenge in 2000/01, and I was lucky to see Leeds in the sort of early 2000s, late nineties be a very, very good team in the Champions League semi-finals etc,” Conor began.
“So I’ve seen a lot of very, very good players come into Leeds United and obviously leave Leeds United. Now, he’s completely unique. I’ve never seen anything like it. Harry Kewell was something very, very similar, he didn’t go on to do great things when he went to Liverpool, but for Leeds United, he was incredible.
“Kewell was probably in the bracket of world-class when it comes to his age, and I think Raphinha is arguably better than what Kewell was. For what he’s done for Leeds United over eighteen months, the numbers he’s putting out, the overall contributions, 155 chances created this season. It’s actually quite scary when you think about if he had a top operator upfront or top operators in and around him, what numbers this guy could be sitting on.
“He, in my opinion, has been the constant for Leeds this season and, in my opinion, has been the guy who kept Leeds United up. He’s the X factor, he’s absolutely pivotal to what we’ve done this season, and it’s not only him going forward, but it’s him going back.
“Marcelo Bielsa has brought out this trait in him where not only is he ferocious getting forward, but it’s almost embedded into his game now that he breaks his legs to get back for the side. He’ll do absolutely everything, and I think that encompasses just proves what sort of player we’re talking about here.”