Edu reveals how close Arsenal came to Raphinha transfer after Brazilian shines for Barcelona in Clasico debut

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Arsenal technical director Edu has opened up on the club’s failed summer pursuit of Raphinha.

The active Gunners are eager to further strengthen Mikel Arteta’s squad with the addition of a new winger in the current window and initially emerged as strong favourites to sign Leeds’ prized asset.

North London rivals Tottenham were also interested in Raphinha, while it then looked for a long while as if Chelsea were set to clinch a deal before Barcelona eventually manoeuvred themselves into a position to be able to complete a transfer worth up to £55million.

Raphinha had been willing to wait on Barca despite the interest from that aforementioned London trio, with a Camp Nou switch always said to be his top priority.

Indeed, the Brazil international has wasted little time in impressing his new team-mates, scoring a stunning winning goal against fierce rivals Real Madrid in a pre-season Clasico in Las Vegas on Sunday.

Arsenal fans were naturally disappointed to miss out on Raphinha, though have been given plenty of reason for optimism on the transfer front in recent weeks with the arrivals of Manchester City duo Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko and Portugal midfielder Fabio Vieira, plus USA goalkeeper Matt Turner and teenager Marquinhos.

Asked how close Arsenal actually came to signing Raphinha this summer, Edu told Sky Sports: "People think we went in too deep about Raphinha, because Raphinha was everywhere.

"It's fair we did have some conversations with Deco because Deco is his agent and I have a good relationship [with him] - we are friends.

Raphinha eventually left Leeds for Barcelona despite interest from Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham (Getty Images)
Raphinha eventually left Leeds for Barcelona despite interest from Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham (Getty Images)

"I just said to Deco, 'Can you explain to me the situation with Raphinha?' and he was clear, 'Edu, we have a good relationship but I'm not going to lie to you, his idea is to go to Barcelona because he's dreaming to go to Barcelona, and we've been talking to Barcelona since a long time ago'.

"Okay, thank you very much, if something happens then just let me know because I can explore and understand the situation. If not, no problem and we carry on with our relationship."

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