Mikel Arteta instructs Edu to complete winger deal despite January hurdles currently in place

Ben Stewart
Raphinha and Ferran Torres of Barcelona

Mikel Arteta has set his eyes on Barcelona winger Raphinha in a bid to strengthen Arsenal’s forward line for the second half of the season.

It’s no secret that Arsenal are still in the market for a winger, particularly after missing out on Mykhailo Mudryk. The Gunners lead the way in the Premier League and Arteta is keen on adding to his squad.

Their lack of squad depth in the final third is emphasised at the moment due to Gabriel Jesus being out injured. Eddie Nketiah has led the line well in his absence, but they could do with another addition.

The Gunners have been long-term admirers of Raphinha and they were reportedly keen on him in the summer. The 26-year-old instead opted to go to Barcelona where he has been in and out of the squad.

Raphinha has featured in 15 of Barcelona’s 16 league matches so far, although eight of his appearances have come from the bench.

Xavi often alternates between Ousmane Dembele and Raphinha on the right-hand side. Despite their early Champions League exit, things have started to pick up at Barcelona.

They were recently crowned Supercopa de Espana champions and they currently top LaLiga. Sport have claimed that Arteta is a fan of Raphinha and he would like to sign him this month. Indeed, it’s stated that the Gunners boss has instructed technical director Edu to try and get the deal over the line

However, the report does clarify that it would be ‘very difficult’ for Arsenal to get a deal done for Raphinha in January as Barcelona only signed him a few months ago.

Arsenal have a real title shot

Whether Arsenal manages to land a winger in the January window or not, they have a real chance of winning the league this season.

Arteta’s side are on a 12-game unbeaten streak in the league and they are now eight points clear of Manchester City. Their north London victory against Spurs will have also given them a real boost.

Prior to the January window opening, Arteta told reporters: “We are going to be active and active means we are looking to strengthen the team.

“This squad still doesn’t have the luxury of not maximising every single window. We have to do that because it’s really important, but then we have to get the right profile. It has to be the right player to take us to the next level.”

Both Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli have started every league game for Arsenal this season. If Arsenal want to sustain their title charge this season they it would seem wise to invest into another winger to add more depth.

The Gunners have dealt well with the loss of Jesus, but perhaps losing Saka or Martinelli would have greater consequences. Saka especially would be tough to replace given all of the qualities he brings to the side.

A player like Raphinha would be a natural in Arteta’s system, particularly on the right-hand side. Given that Barcelona spent around £50million on him during the summer though, he wouldn’t come cheap.

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