Arsenal want to strengthen their forward options this summer with Raphinha, but their pursuit of the Brazilian appears to have been made trickier by Manchester City’s recent business
Although Arsenal have already signed two players this summer, tensions could rise further at the Emirates Stadium due to the quick thinking of Manchester City.
The Gunners have signed Marquinhos and Fabio Vieira already this summer, though many believe that neither of the pair will tackle their overbearing need for a proven forward. After Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang departed last season and Alexandre Lacazette’s contract expired this summer, Eddie Nketiah remains the only proven No.9 at the club.
And whether the 23-year-old can be considered truly ‘proven’ at this level is open to interpretation given that he only started eight league matches last season. One player who has shown his class on a weekly basis at this level is Leeds’ Raphinha, and it is no secret that the Gunners are keen to sign the Brazilian international.
But prising the winger away from Elland Road has been made a trickier task as City have reached an agreement with the Leeds for midfielder Kalvin Phillips. The England international is expected to cost Pep Guardiola’s side £ 42million, plus add-ons, which will be a significant boost to Leeds’ budget this summer.
So much so that they may decide to raise their reported asking price of £ 65m for Raphinha as Jesse Marsch is unlikely to want to part ways with his two top performers in the space of a few weeks without a clear Plan B constructed. Arsenal have reportedly been keen on Raphinha for a matter of months, thus, if they had worked quicker then they may not have had the risk of potentially facing the consequences of City’s speedy negotiations.
However, Mikel Arteta won’t be too shocked that his side hasn’t struck a deal with the Whites early in the window. The Daily Mail reported earlier this month that the Spaniard is growing frustrated by how indecisive Arsenal have been in the transfer market and how chiefs are ‘dragging their heels’ over signings.
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As a result, Arteta may have known in his heart of hearts that the lapse approach by the higher powers at the Gunners would end up costing his side at some point this summer. At the time, it was feared that their pursuit of Gabriel Jesus would be hijacked, though that deal looks somewhat over the line now.
With Barcelona in a financially difficult situation, Arsenal had the ideal opportunity to pounce and try to strike up a deal for Leeds. Instead, they sent a bid that reportedly was rejected very quickly, and now risk having to compete with Barca – Raphinha’s supposedly preferred destination – for his signature. And that could be on the horizon given that they are in talks with Manchester United over a deal for midfielder Frenkie De Jong.
It remains to be seen just how significant of an impact City signing Phillips has on the overall transfer market and if the effect of the move will be felt in North London. If so, Arteta may be gifted with the perfect evidence for a switch-up in how his side completed business over the coming months.