Arsenal

Arsenal still have faint Raphinha transfer hope with ‘very good friend’ in contact

Chelsea reportedly agreed a transfer fee with Leeds for the transfer of Arsenal target Raphinha this week but the race is not won yet.

Arsenal’s hopes of signing Leeds United winger Raphinha took a blow on Tuesday despite the Gunners reportedly pushing hard to sign the Brazilian this summer.

Mikel Arteta is eager to bolster his options ahead of the return of European football at the Emirates next season, and Raphinha was on the list of targets to help in that mission. Three names have already arrived in north London this season in the form of Marquinhos, Fabio Vieira and Matt Turner, with Gabriel Jesus also set to be announced.

Depth will be essential, and Raphinha would be an impressive signing in that respect. But multiple reports on Tuesday afternoon revealed that Leeds had accepted an offer from Chelsea thought to be around the £60 million asking price. Arsenal also submitted a bid this week, but it was rejected.

The deal now rests on whether or not new Blues’ chairman Todd Boehly can agree personal terms with the Brazilian. Arsenal, meanwhile, will likely turn their attentions to other targets, although who they may be remains unclear.

But hope is not necessarily lost for the Gunners. While there is plenty of work to do on the bid itself, when it comes to personal terms, they may boast a secret weapon.

Fellow Selecao member Gabriel Magalhaes has a firm friendship with Raphinha after the pair played together for Brazilian side Avai before making moves to Lille and Rennes, respectively. Speaking about the 25-year-old at the end of 2021, Gabriel revealed that they remain in close contact.

“We had a Whatsapp group that we were always in contact since our Avai days,” the central defender explained via The Mirror. “We shared the same accommodation. We’re very good friends.”

There is, therefore a faint hope that Arsenal’s first-choice centre-back could still persuade his friend to hold off on agreeing terms with Chelsea for now, giving the Gunners faint hope of hijacking the deal themselves. The imminent arrival of Jesus in north London will not hurt either.

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