Arsenal could be handed a second chance to bring Raphinha to the Emirates Stadium in the January transfer window.
According to Spanish television show El Chiringuito, Barcelona are open to the sale of the 26-year-old winger this month, despite the fact that the LaLiga side spent £55m in order to bring the Brazil international to the Camp Nou as recently as July 2022.
And, speaking to Sky Sports (via The Express) last summer, Arsenal’s sporting director Edu hinted that, after failing in his own move for the attacker that summer, were the former Leeds United star ever to become available on the market in the future, he could launch a fresh move for the forward.
Revealing a conversation he had with Deco – Raphinha’s agent – Edu said: “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’.
“[I said], ‘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’.”
Now, with Arsenal reported to be closing in on a deal for Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhaylo Mudryk this winter, were Edu to also get a deal for Raphinha over the line prior to the closure of the January window, the Brazilian director would have undoubtedly formed an extremely deadly new duo in Islington.
Indeed, over his 30 Premier League appearances in his debut campaign with Leeds, the £53.5m-rated talent made an immediate impact in the top flight of English football, scoring six goals, registering nine assists and creating 12 big chances for his teammates, as well as taking an average of 2.2 shots, making 2.1 key passes and completing 1.9 dribbles per game.
These returns saw the 26-year-old who journalist Owuraku Ampofo claimed has a “deadly left foot” average a simply sensational Sofascore match rating of 7.14, not only ranking him as Marcelo Bielsa’s second-best outfielder in the league but also as the joint 30th-best player in the division as a whole in 2020/21.
It was a similar story over his 35 top-flight outings in 2021/22, with the £214k-per-week trickster bagging 11 goals, providing three assists and creating ten big chances for his teammates, in addition to taking an average of 2.5 shots, making 1.9 key passes and completing 1.8 dribbles per match.
These metrics saw the former Stade Rennais star average an extremely impressive Sofascore match rating of 6.97, once again ranking him as the Whites’ second-best outfielder in the league – playing a starring role in Jesse Marsch’s side securing Premier League survival last time out.
As such, while it is true that the player who WhoScored’s Martin Laurence labelled “frightening” has not quite hit these heights in Spain – scoring three goals and registering five assists over 21 appearances for Barca – considering just how effective the Brazilian was in the Premier League, the prospect of the 26-year-old lining up opposite Mudryk is a very tantalising one indeed.
In his own right, the Ukraine international is just as exciting as the Barca star, having scored ten goals and supplied eight assists in 2022/23. Thus, should Arsenal combine that with Raphinha’s quality and experience of English football, they’d have a truly devastating partnership on their hands.