Arsenal have been handed a huge blow in their pursuit to sign Leeds United winger Raphinha, with the Brazil international set to join Spanish giants Barcelona this summer.
The 25-year-old registered 11 goals and three assists for Leeds United this season as the Lily Whites escaped relegation by the skin of their teeth, allowing the club to demand a substantial fee for the player this summer.
Raphinha accumulated 7.15(xA) this season, but only registered 3 assists.
In other words, his teammates scored 4 fewer goals than you’d expect given the quality of chances he created for them.
— The xG Philosophy (@xGPhilosophy) July 1, 2022
Arsenal looked the favourites at one point to land Raphinha’s signature, but both Barcelona and Chelsea have pulled away to make it a two horse race down the final stretch.
The Gunners have already completed the signings of highly-rated attacking midfielder Fabio Vieira from Porto, alongside deals for Matt Turner from the New England Revolution in America and 19-year-old right winger Marquinhos from Sao Paulo.
Raphinha looks to be Barcelona’s first signing of the summer transfer window, with Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski also edging closer to a move to the Camp Nou.
Since the start of the 2020/21 Premier League season, only two players have attempted over 100 shots, created over 100 chances, and completed over 100 take-ons – Sadio Mane, who recently made the switch from Liverpool to Bayern Munich, and Raphinha.
Whilst Chelsea are also in hot pursuit of the winger alongside working on deals for Raheem Sterling, Nathan Ake, and Matthijs de Ligt, it appears that Raphinha’s preference is to join Xavi at Barcelona and team up with the likes of Memphis Depay and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Paddy Power have the Brazilian international at a price of 4/7 to join Barcelona before the transfer window shuts, compared to 10/11 to join Chelsea, and 18/1 apiece to either sign for Arsenal or stay put at Leeds.
Wherever Raphinha goes, the 25-year-old is sure to make an instant impact and fight for silverware which a player of his calibre ultimately deserves as he enters the prime of his young career.