Arsenal ‘make contact’ over Raphinha transfer as Chelsea steal Mudryk

Arteta previews Arsenal’s Premier League trip to Tottenham

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Arsenal have put the wheels in motion regarding a potential move for Barcelona winger Raphinha after missing out on the signing of Mykhaylo Mudryk to Chelsea, according to reports. The Gunners had been chasing Mudryk all month long and were in advanced talks with Shakhtar Donetsk as recently as Saturday morning before Chelsea swooped in with a bid in the region of £88million to snatch the Ukraine international for themselves.

Arsenal’s failure to wrap up a deal to land Mudryk has left them in desperate need of an alternative target to pursue, although they might be able to solve the problem by rekindling their interest in Raphinha in the not-too-distant future. The north Londoners initially targeted the 26-year-old during the summer before his move to the Nou Camp from Leeds United but have reached out to the Catalan giants in order to establish his availability in the wake of Chelsea’s pursuit of Mudryk, according to Sport Italia.

It is said that Arsenal have drawn up a list of potential signings in the wide positions but have taken a particular liking to Raphinha, who has failed to live up to expectations since joining Barcelona last year. Those in power at the Spanish club are reportedly considering the possibility of an early sale in order to recoup some cash for the player, although it remains to be seen whether Arsenal will eventually decide to firm up their curiosity with an official bid in the coming days.

They are yet to make a firm offer in exchange for Raphinha, although ‘exploratory’ contacts have been made over the last few hours in order to establish the feasability of a potential move before the end of this month. Arsenal director Edu has made no secret of his admiration for the Barcelona man, with the 44-year-old revealing over the summer that he asked the forward’s agent, Deco, to keep him in the loop regarding Raphinha’s availability prior to his move to Spain.

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Edu told Sky Sports: “I just said to Deco, ‘Can you explain to me the situation with Raphinha?’ and he was clear, ‘Edu, we have a good relationship but I’m not going to lie to you, his idea is to go to Barcelona because he’s dreaming to go to Barcelona, and we’ve been talking to Barcelona since a long time ago’.

“[I said] ‘Okay, thank you very much, if something happens then just let me know because I can explore and understand the situation. If not, no problem and we carry on with our relationship’.”

Meanwhile, former Arsenal favourite Kevin Campbell recently suggested that Mikel Arteta could decide to use Raphinha in rotation with Bukayo Saka in order to increase the Gunners’ attacking threat on the flanks if a deal can be agreed before the January window slams shut.

“Saka could play on the left, they both could, to be honest,” Campbell told Football Insider. “That is the beautiful thing. They can both play on either flank. Saka has been overused, let’s be brutally honest.

“[Nicolas] Pepe should have been coming in and carrying the can but Mikel Arteta couldn’t rely on him. He needs somebody he can rely on. If Saka is on the bench and Raphinha is playing you know you are going to get quality and work rate at the top end of the pitch.

“You also know that he is going to beat his man. That is what you want. You can mix and match and interchange, those pieces can move around. That is key.”

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