Leeds' hopes of hanging on to Raphinha fade as odds slashed on Arsenal move

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Barcelona have long been favourites to sign Raphinha, with the Brazil international reported to be Xavi''s number one transfer target.

The Leeds attacker had been earmarked for the right wing, with Ousmane Dembele expected to leave Camp Nou on June 30 as a free agent.

A fee of £47million had been mooted for Raphinha, although Barcelona were thought to be willing to pay around £40million for the 25-year-old.

Nevertheless, despite the disparity in valuations, transfer guru Fabrizio Romano reported that Barca had agreed a five-year deal with the player's agent, and their former player, Deco. However, uncertainty over whether Dembele is now going to leave Barca, means Raphinha's future is not as clearcut as it once appeared.

With the economic situation at Barcelona still bleak, funding a move for Raphinha would not be seen as prudent should Dembele remain.

Ousmane Dembele
Ousmane Dembele

Should Dembele leave - Chelsea are 4/9 to pick him up in the summer - there remain concerns over whether Barcelona will be able to fund a deal for Raphinha with debts of more than £1billion.

That has allowed Arsenal to steal a march on their rivals. The Gunners were 4/1 with the bookies to land Raphinha earlier in the week but have seen their odds slashed to 4/5 with news of an expected approach from the north London side. Raphinha, who scored 11 Premier League goals last season, has previously spoken about his admiration for Arsenal, saying he "grew up on Thierry Henry's goals". "I'd be watching the Prem with my dad on the free-to-air channels. Henry was flying, man. The runs, the finishes, it was crazy," he said.

Raphinha celebration Leeds May22
Raphinha celebration Leeds May22

"I also remember that the stadiums were always full. The songs, the shouts. The noise. I can't remember the details, but I was probably sitting in a run-down bar somewhere in Restinga when I made the vow: One day I'm going to play there." Arsenal's failure to qualify for the Champions League could still prove a sticking point, though, with the former Rennes man keen to test himself in the competition.

Nevertheless, with Tottenham and Chelsea also circling, it means Leeds' chances of hanging on to their influential forward are dwindling - Raphinha is 9/2 to still be at Elland Road after the close of the transfer window.

The article Leeds’ hopes of hanging on to Raphinha fade as odds slashed on Arsenal move appeared first on Planetsport.com.

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