Premier League • England

Arteta all smiles after Barcelona U-turn puts incredible Arsenal coup within reach; transfer cost revealed

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta

Arsenal have been handed an unexpected second chance to sign a Barcelona attacker in a deal that would give Mikel Arteta an incredible embarrassment of riches, per a report.

It’s fair to say that despite things on the field running smoothly, Arsenal haven’t had it all their own way off it. Indeed, the Gunners tried and failed to sign former Leeds Utd favourite Raphinha during the last summer window.

Arsenal’s strategy of bidding below the Brazilian’s market value before gradually upping the offers quickly proved unsuitable once Chelsea entered the frame.

The Blues actually saw a bid worth £60m-£65m accepted by Leeds, per the Athletic and Fabrizio Romano. However, the player only had eyes for Barcelona.

South American stars dreaming of playing for one of Spain’s big two is a recurring theme. Once Barca acted on their interest, a move to the Camp Nou became inevitable.

Arsenal again missed out on their primary wing target in January when Chelsea hijacked their move for Mykhailo Mudryk.

Given the contrast in how he and Arsenal’s back-up signing, Leandro Trossard, have performed in the ensuing two months, the Gunners may be glad Mudryk slipped through their fingers.

In any case, a fresh report from Football Insider has claimed Arsenal now have an unexpected chance to complete a piece of unfinished business.

READ MORE: Arsenal hurtling towards transfer catastrophe after Arteta turns back on star who ‘could play at Real Madrid, Barcelona or Man City’

Raphinha to Arsenal back on

They report Barcelona – who are still plagued by financial difficulties – have reluctantly decided Raphinha is a player who can remedy their woes through a sale this summer.

The Brazilian, 26, has notched 18 goal contributions in 38 matches for Barcelona thus far.

Despite early criticism he’s quickly earned the trust of manager Xavi. However, FI claim Barca’s board may overrule Xavi and sell Raphinha from under his nose. Doing so would be a purely financial decision.

Arsenal’s interest in Raphinha has reportedly not gone away. As such, they’re claimed to be ‘considering a bid’ for the former Leeds favourite.

Barca signed Raphinha for £55m and would hope to recoup at least that amount. If they get their way, they’ll obviously generate a handy profit too, but that would depend on Arsenal going above and beyond to land their man.

In the event Arsenal were able to bring Raphinha to north London at the second time of asking, Mikel Arteta would have an incredible array of attacking weapons at his disposal.

Indeed, he’d be able to call upon Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah for the centre-forward role. Folarin Balogun is bubbling away nicely while out on loan at French side Reims.

On the left wing, Gabriel Martinelli and Leandro Trossard will compete for minutes.

The No 10/attacking midfield role is Martin Odegaard’s, though he’s capably backed up by Emile Smith Rowe and Fabio Vieira.

Finally, Raphinha and Bukayo Saka would dovetail on the right wing, with Reiss Nelson in reserve.

Chelsea too are named as a potential Raphinha suitor in the piece, though they already have Christopher Nkunku due to arrive from RB Leipzig at season’s end.

What’s more, the Blues’ lavish spending over the previous two windows will make exits the order of the day this summer. New arrivals may have to take a back seat with the pressure of conforming with Financial Fair Play looming large.

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