It had been widely reported – and potentially even expected – that Raphinha would be joining Barcelona this summer, but given their financial difficulties, Premier League clubs such as Arsenal have been able to swoop in and register an interest.
According to Romano, the Gunners are now in direct talks with Leeds United over potentially signing their top scorer from last season, although it would potentially require them to make Raphinha one of their most expensive signings.
Romano spoke on the podcast about the Gunners having direct contact with Leeds, which was later confirmed by David Ornstein, who has reported that Arsenal have seen a low opening offer rejected, giving this Romano claim even more substance.
He said: “Arsenal had direct contact with Leeds for Raphinha, so direct contact between the board of Arsenal and the board of Leeds. They are negotiating, they are discussing, so Arsenal are working on Raphinha.
Will Arsenal sign Raphinha?
“But also, Chelsea with Todd Boehly, the new owner, and Tottenham, with their board, are discussing this possibility. So Raphinha is a name for all the London clubs, but Arsenal had direct negotiations.
“So it’s a crazy situation, really. I think Leeds are really happy because, of course, they have a fantastic player and a lot of money already on the table, but it’s Barcelona with an agreement with the player – but not with Leeds.
“Arsenal [are] directly negotiating with Leeds with [a real] intention to push and push in the coming days.”
TIF Thoughts on Arsenal’s interest in Raphinha…
It would be an incredible coup for Mikel Arteta and Arsenal if they were able to lure Raphinha to the Emirates Stadium ahead of rivals Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, but that competition from other suitors is set to make this a slow and drawn-out process, according to Ornstein.
However, considering that the Gunners are also looking to sign Gabriel Jesus, who will reportedly set them back £40m, to then splash out potentially €55m (£47.4m) on Raphinha would be a massive gamble for Arsenal, because if they don’t get that Champions League money next season, they could be looking to balance the books come next summer.