Arsenal are said to be interested in Leeds attacker Raphinha, but first they need to make room for him in their squad.
Leeds forward Raphinha has received a lot of interest this year, with Barcelona reportedly being the 25-year-old Brazilian’s priority club as reported by transfer specialist and CaughtOffside columnist Fabrizio Romano.
Raphinha joined the Whites from Rennes in 2020 for a fee of £17million and made 67 appearances for Leeds across the two seasons.
The Brazilian was Leeds’ top goal scorer this season, directly contributing to 14 goals making him a valuable asset to Jesse Marsch’s struggling Leeds side, who narrowly avoided relegation.
Still, he could soon be leaving Elland Road.
Watts said: “I have since been able to confirm that news that Arsenal are indeed interested in Raphinha. As far as I’m aware, the interest hasn’t got to any official stage yet. Arsenal haven’t started official talks with Leeds. This is all muscling for position behind the scenes really. Barcelona still very much the favourites when it comes to him,”
“I think what happens with Nicolas Pepe is going to be key. I don’t see a way that Raphinha arrives if Nicolas Pepe stays. They both play in the same position, both play on the right. You’ve got Bukayo Saka there already. And it doesn’t really make sense financially if you’re bringing Raphinha in while Pepe is still at the club.”
Mikel Arteta has his work cut out if he wishes to battle Xavi’s Champions League side Barcelona for the Brazilian, especially as the North London club only managed to qualify for the Europa League next season.