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Arsenal Looking to Battle Barcelona for £40m Rated Premier League Winger as Replacement for Nicolas Pepe

Raphinha, Arsenal, Manchester United, Leeds United

According to Fabrizio Romano via his Here We Go podcast, Arsenal have enquired about the possibility of signing Raphinha from Leeds. Barcelona are currently leading the race to sign the Brazilian. Arsenal are not the frontrunners but they are looking for a similar player. The Gunners are also interested in the star man of PSV Eindhoven Cody Gakpo.

The Gunners want to strengthen their attacking department and have quite a few players on their transfer list. Barcelona are very close to completing a deal for Raphinha, as reported by Fabrizio Romano. The Brazilian has played the role of a talisman for Leeds United in their tough times. They have had a tough run of results but Raphinha has helped them with his contributions.

Raphinha celebrating for Leeds, Raphinha, Arsenal
Image obtained via Sky Sports

It is very clear that it is going to be very tough for Arsenal to hijack the move from Barcelona. The Catalan club has found its form back and now looks like a very good side barring their financial crisis. Consequently, it will be very unlikely that any player rejects a move to one of the European giants.

Why Has Arsenal Enquired About Raphinha?

Raphinha has displayed immense quality with Leeds United, scoring all kinds of goals and also creating all sorts of chances. He takes 2.7 shots and makes 2.1 key passes per game. He also completes 2.1 dribbles and gets fouled 1.4 times per game. Moreover, he also attempts 1.7 long balls per game (stats via whoscored).

Raphinha has that Brazilian flair in his game which is also the major source of entertainment and chance creation for Leeds. Nicholas Pepe has not been that impressive for Arsenal despite how much money the Gunners have paid for him. Bukayo Saka has started most of Arsenal’s matches and has been influential from that side.

The 25-year-old forward is also a brilliant set-piece taker with very good crossing abilities. He is also very good at taking long shots. That attribute also helps him score from direct free-kicks. His Brazilian origin also assists him in getting past defenders with ease. He is also gifted with very good dribbling skills allowing him to run at defenders with the ball.

Raphinha playing for Leeds United, Raphinha, Arsenal
Image obtained via Bayern Strikes

Should The Gunners Push For Raphinha Or Look For An Alternative?

There is no logic in Arsenal pushing hard to sign Raphinha. Barcelona are already the favorite to complete a move for the Brazilian and as Romano mentioned, it will be very tough for Arsenals to hijack the move. Instead, the Gunners should go for similar players to that of Raphinha. Arsenal have expressed their interest in Domenico Berardi who can be a good alternative for Raphinha.

Another option is Cody Gakpo who is one of the best players in the Eredivisie this season. Arsenal will only be wasting their own time by trying to sign Raphinha. Instead, they could use that energy on a serious getable target like Gakpo. The Dutchman is not only a chance creator but is also a lethal goal-scorer.

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More importantly, Arsenal has to focus on signing a striker rather than a winger. One of the three strikers has left the club and the other two are on the verge of doing exactly the same at the end of this season. Arsenal can use their funds to invest in a striker like Alexander Isak or Darwin Nunez who have emerged as their recent transfer targets.

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