Arsenal close in on Raphinha

By Oviri Kelvin

Arsenal are closed to signing Brazilian striker Raphinha from Leeds United recent reports from the South American country, Brazil, reveal.

The Brazilian, who joined Leeds United circa €18.60m deal from French side Rennes, performed brilliantly from two seasons ago and battled to retain the Premier League status of the West Yorkshire club to evade relegation last season.

Raphinha’s performances, with 17 goals and 12 assists for two seasons, caught the attention of top European clubs with Tottenham, Barcelona and Arsenal rumoured to be on his trail.

Barcelona were the favourite to sign the player away from England but the asking price of about £50m by Leeds has resulted in the withdrawal of the Catalans from the chase, reported Football365.

Reportedly, Catalans do not have the money handy to sign the striker and would ensure they capitalise on the funds from their outgoings to fund the deal.

According to reports from Leeds, the Spanish club had earlier tendered a bid which was considered too low to make the player switch allegiance from Elland Road to Camp Nou.

Sequel to the above, Leeds United have expected an improved second bid from Barcelona but the latter are yet to make another offer for the Brazilian, The Trumpet gathered.

According to Goal, Arsenal have overtaken Barcelona to land the player in the Emirates Stadium with a better offer and would in the coming weeks ratify the deal.

Goal’s report added that the exhausted Raphinha has decided to turn his attention toward the offer and will no longer wait for Barcelona’s offer.

Meanwhile, former Gunners midfielder, Jack Wilshere, has commended the Whites’ striker for adapting to the English style of football in the nick of time.

Wilshere, who spoke to talkSPORT dignifying the Brazilian to have struggled in the trenches to pull the Leeds United out of relegation, stressed that it will cost Arsenal a lot to bring him to the Emirates stadium.

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“For someone who’s only been in England for two years, he’s got a lot of experience,” Wilshere told talkSPORT.

“He came to England and just clicked straight away. He was in a relegation battle last year so he knows he’s up for a fight.

“I think he’d be a good one for Arsenal. He’ll be expensive, of course, he will,” he stated.

Raphinha, 25, has amassed 62 goals from 245 appearances in his club career and got his first international call-up to the Brazilian national team last year where he has earned 9 caps netting 3 goals.

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