Arsenal target Raphinha has already dropped Gunners transfer hint with deal ‘very close’
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Leeds United winger Raphinha has already hinted that he would be open to joining Arsenal at some point during his career as he continues to be linked with a summer move to the Emirates Stadium. The Gunners are said to be in advanced talks with Leeds with a view to striking a deal for Raphinha, who is also said to be a target for Barcelona in advance of next season.
A fee of around £43million will reportedly be needed to tempt Leeds into selling the Brazilian forward and it seems as though Arsenal could be preparing to meet their demands over the coming days. The player himself has already revealed that he grew up watching the likes of Thierry Henry at Highbury in an apparent hint that he would be happy to choose north London as the perfect destination to embark on the next stage of his career.
“I’d be watching the Prem with my dad on the free-to-air channels,” Raphinha told The Players’ Tribune last year. “Henry was flying, man. The runs, the finishes, it was crazy.
“I also remember that the stadiums were always full. The songs, the shouts, the noise. I can’t remember the details, but I was probably sitting in a run-down bar somewhere in Restinga when I made the vow [that] one day I’m going to play there.”
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It remains to be seen whether Raphinha’s affinity with Arsenal will see him join Mikel Arteta’s ranks in the not-too-distant future, with the Gunners boss said to be keen on snapping him up this summer. It seems likely that a move could be completed by as early as this week, with Raphinha no longer prepared to wait around for Barcelona to agree terms with Leeds, according to Goal.
It is said that Arsenal have offered a higher salary than the Catalan giants, who have already settled on personal terms with Raphinha but have been reluctant to meet Leeds’ asking price. Barcelona are now believed to have pulled out of the race to land the 25-year-old to give Arsenal a free run at his signature over the coming days.
The Gunners were the Premier League’s biggest spenders last summer and have been tipped to splash the cash once again this time around in order to improve Arteta’s squad in advance of the new campaign. The Spaniard recently admitted that it would be difficult to compete with other top English clubs in their efforts to land new players, though, due to the increasingly competitive nature of the summer market.
“The plan we have is to be able to compete with these teams, but we don’t know what resources other teams will have,” Arteta told reporters when quizzed on his pre-season transfer plans last month.
“But we know other teams are starting from a different position, because they are in a different moment but we still need to have the aim to do that, because if you don’t, where do you end up? Just looking back, I don’t want to do that.
“So we need to find ways to be able to compete with them, like we have done this season, because nobody expected us to do that with the squad we had and the expectation we had.”
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