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Arsenal join Barcelona in race to sign Raphinha

Arsenal have joined Barcelona in the race to sign Leeds United winger Raphinha this summer, reputed journalist Fabrizio Romano claims.

The Brazil international has been impressive for Leeds since his arrival from Rennes in October 2020. He has registered 15 goals and 12 assists from 59 appearances.

He still has more than two years remaining on his contract, but there has been much speculation that he could head for the exit door at the end of this campaign.

Barcelona have already engaged in talks with his agent in Deco, and they are making progress towards a potential summer deal for the versatile 25-year-old winger.

Their opening bid of around €35 million was knocked back by Leeds, but Sport claims that they are now willing to offer €40m plus €10m in add-ons for the player.

Amidst this, Romano has confirmed that the Gunners have ‘asked for information’ on Raphinha. The north London outfit are admirers of the former Sporting star.

Still, Barcelona are deemed to have the upper hand in the player’s pursuit, considering their good relationship with ex-player Deco, who represents Raphinha.

Arsenal currently have Bukayo Saka and Nicolas Pepe as the specialist right wing options with Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe operating on the other flank.

While there appears no need to change things around, the Gunners could be braced for the departure of Pepe, who has voiced his frustration over the lack of game time.

Raphinha would be an ideal signing with his valuable league experience, but the question rises whether he would be content playing a potential back-up role next season.

At 25, he is in the peak of his career, and may want assured minutes ahead of the World Cup this winter. Barcelona’s pursuit suggests that he is being considered a key figure.

Hence, it won’t be a surprise if Raphinha turns down the Gunners. Mikel Arteta’s side could still strengthen their position with a summer move for PSV’s Cody Gakpo.

The Netherlands international has been linked with several Premier League clubs, but it has recently emerged that the Gunners are in pole position to acquire his services.

His statistics have been excellent this campaign with 16 goals and 15 assists from 37 outings, but the step up to the Premier League could present a much stiffer challenge for him.

Similar to Raphinha, Gakpo can operate from both flanks, but has also shown his ability to lead the line. Arteta has confirmed that the club need a genuine goalscoring striker.

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