Barcelona winger Raphinha now wants to join Arsenal in the next couple of transfer windows, according to reports.
The Brazilian only moved to the Camp Nou in the summer transfer window from Leeds United in a £55m deal after months of speculation other clubs were interested.
Arsenal were understood to be interested in signing the 26-year-old before he left the Yorkshire club to move to the Catalan giants – but Raphinha had his heart set on a move to Barca.
There has been speculation that Arsenal could look to sign another attacker before the end of the transfer window, despite agreeing a deal to sign Leandro Trossard from Brighton, and Raphinha’s name keeps being linked.
One report recently said he is keen on a move to Arsenal, while a more reliable journalist insisted that Raphinha wants to stay at the Camp Nou after winning his first trophy.
And even Raphinha – who scored the opening goal in Barca’s 5-0 victory over AD Ceuta in the Copa del Rey yesterday – himself hinted at a long stay in Barcelona after they beat Real Madrid 3-1 in the Spanish Super Cup final over the weekend.
After the final whistle, Raphinha told reporters: “This is my first trophy with this giant club, this enormous shirt of FC Barcelona — it’s incredible. And so now we go for more trophies.”
But a report from Spanish newspaper Sport yesterday claimed that Arsenal are ‘insisting’ on Raphinha despite claims a deal would prove difficult.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is a big fan of the Brazil international and Sport added that the Gunners have ‘contacted’ Raphinha’s representatives over a possible transfer.
And now another Spanish publication Nacional insists that Raphinha is now the ‘priority’ for Arteta and Arsenal technical director Edu as they seek another attacker before the window closes.
It is his ‘secondary role’ at Barcelona which is causing Raphinha to doubt his stay at the Catalan side with the winger only starting seven La Liga matches this season.
Xavi has ‘no intention of allowing him to leave’ and has ‘completely closed the doors’ on a transfer exit with Raphinha now becoming a ‘headache’ for the Barcelona boss.
Raphinha initially ‘insisted on respecting the contract he has signed and being patient’ – but he has now ‘changed his mind’ and is now the ‘first person who welcomes packing’.
Arsenal ‘is a destination that pleases him, and Joan Laporta is not standing in his way either’ although there are rumours that Barcelona want €100m for him to leave.
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