Premier League • England

Arsenal set to revive interest in £58m star as Lionel Messi reunion sends Barcelona winger packing

Ben Stewart
Raphael Dias Belloli Raphinha and Ansu Fati of FC Barcelona during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Valencia CF played at Spotify Camp Nou Stadium on March 05, 2023 in Barcelona, Spain.

Arsenal are preparing to rekindle their interest in a former Premier League star who Mikel Arteta tried to sign last summer.

The Gunners are expected to just fall short to Manchester City in the title race and they are already plotting ways to close the gap next season.

While Arteta’s side have done fantastic this season, they do lack the same depth as Man City. Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli have played in every league match this season for instance.

Arteta could do with more options next season, particularly with the added Champions League schedule. As this is the case, they are in the market for another creative outlet.

The Gunners tried to sign Raphinha last summer, but a deal didn’t materialise in the end. Instead, the Brazilian winger opted to sign for Barcelona in a deal worth up to £58million.

Arsenal technical director Edu even admitted last year that they tried to sign him. “It’s fair we did have some conversations with Deco because Deco is his agent, and I have a good relationship [with him] – we are friends,” Edu told Sky Sports.

Fast forward 12 months and the Brazilian winger could be on the move once more. According to Spanish outlet Sport, Raphinha is considering his future in Spain.

While the forward has done well at Barcelona so far, he is wary that Ousmane Dembele’s return to fitness coupled with the potential return of Lionel Messi could impact his game time.

Barcelona themselves are in need of ironing out their finances before they can consider signing Messi. The club need to reduce their wage bill by around £177million before they can sign any other players.

Raphinha has other offers

While Arsenal remains interested in the Brazilian forward, they are not alone. The report claims that his agent Deco also has offers from Chelsea and Newcastle United.

Chelsea were another of the clubs that tried to sign Raphinha prior to his move to Spain. In his final season for Leeds, the 26-year-old scored 11 goals and produced three assists.

He has produced similarly impressive numbers while in La Liga this year. In 1,825 minutes he has scored seven goals and has produced six assists.

Xavi himself seems keen on keeping the Brazilian winger around, but Barcelona’s troubling financial situation could force his hand.

The Barcelona manager referred to the winger as the “future of Barcelona” earlier this year. Given his impressive output of late, it is easy to see why he is so highly rated.

A move to Newcastle could also be on the cards. Eddie Howe’s side already have a collection of Brazilian stars in the dressing room who would make Raphinha feel welcome.

Their new financial muscles, coupled with the lure of Champions League football next season could be enough to tempt the Brazilian to the North East.

It has been claimed that Raphinha and his family are now settled in Catalonia, but the footballing world moves fast and he could well be on the move in the summer.

READ MORE: Arsenal prepare colossal €70m offer to tempt former star back to Emirates as Arteta settles on dream new central midfield axis