Leeds’ Raphinha is reportedly a target for both Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur this summer…
THE LOWDOWN: ON THE MOVE
The Brazilian has been an impressive performer for the Whites over the past couple of seasons, scoring 17 goals and chipping in with 12 assists.
Raphinha could well move on ahead of the start of next season, though, as he perhaps looks for a fresh challenge leading up to this winter’s World Cup.
And now the two north London rivals have indeed joined the hunt for the talented forward.
THE LATEST: NORTH LONDON TARGET
According to The Athletic, Arsenal and Spurs are both interested in the former Stade Rennes man’s services this summer, amid concerns Barcelona will be unable to fund a deal for the forward.
It has been also reported that Chelsea are also understood to hold an interest in the winger, although they are also working on a deal for Ousmane Dembele, who is poised to leave Barcelona on a free transfer.
The Whites are open to selling the Brazilian providing that their valuation for the player is met.
THE VERDICT: ROBERT PIRES 2.0
Raphinha is undoubtedly a fantastic player – hailed as a ‘magician’ by Leeds team-mate Dan James – and he looks set to have a big future ahead of him wherever he goes.
Out of both north London outfits, it will of course look as though Brazilian will enter with much competition as both Bukayo Saka and Dejan Kulusevski who occupy similar positions to Raphinha, have excelled tremendously last campaign for their respective clubs.
However, with Nicolas Pepe’s future uncertain, it does leave Arteta with the option to further boost his attacking quota and maybe have a free-run at the Porto Alegre-born wing-wizard who would be a tremendous upgrade on the Ivorian.
The arrival of the nine-cap international to the Emirates would represent a major coup for the club, with the former Rennes man – who signed for Leeds in a £17m deal two years ago – having proven himself something of a “superstar” in recent times, in the words of one journalist.
The £63k-per-week gem – who has also been dubbed “a really special player” by Statman Dave – has lit up the Premier League over the last two years, notably registering 29 goal contributions over the last two seasons combined.
Described as a “baller” by teammate Tyler Roberts, he possesses that rare ability to produce something out of nothing with a sheer moment of genius, with such mercurial talents having often thrived for the Gunners – namely Robert Pires or Freddie Ljungberg. He ranked seventh in the Premier League for key passes (65) and ninth for shot-creating actions (119) (via FBRef) highlighting his stunning influence when forming opportunities for his teammates.
Not that the £40.5m-rated magician shirks his defensive duties either, with the 5 foot 9 playmaker ranking in the top 9% for blocks made and the top 21% for interceptions made among those in his position across Europe’s top five leagues, showcasing his willingness to do the dirty work.
These unique traits will go down well with Mikel Arteta and if he can combine that with a regular supply of goals and assists, then the club could well have another Pires on their hands.