Why Arsenal are on the cusp of being pipped by Chelsea to Raphinha has emerged, and the Blues are wasting little time before pushing for a second big name.
The Leeds ace, 25, quickly became one of the most in-demand forwards in world football. Barcelona were long-time admirers, while the London trio of Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea all threw their hat in the ring.
The numbers involved ensured Barcelona were unable to act on their considerable interest. Leeds were understood to be seeking a fee far in excess of £50m.
Arsenal were the first from the English sides to test the waters, lodging a bid the Athletic’s Phil Hay reported was below £40m.
FabrizIo Romano claimed they came back with an improved, verbal offer, though that too was deemed insufficient and duly knocked back. Various top tier sources have now claimed Chelsea have leapfrogged the Gunners.
Both David Ornstein and Fabrizio Romano reported Chelsea were on the verge of forging an agreement with Leeds.
Romano subsequently claimed the offer has been accepted and is worth an initial £60m, potentially rising to £65m through add-ons.
What’s more, the main part of the fee is due to be paid up front and immediately. Clearly, Chelsea have taken nothing for granted and acted decisively and definitively.
Personal terms are yet to be agreed, but all the signs are pointing to Raphinha lining up at Stamford Bridge next season.
Chelsea’s gain will be Arsenal’s loss if the deal does go through. And hinting at why the Gunners are poised to miss out, Sky Sports’ Melissa Reddy pointed to their transfer strategy of haggling instead of offering the full valuation straight away.
Leeds were confident of getting their valuation of £55m+ for Raphinha given the interest in him. Arsenal had a head start, but Chelsea have worked themselves into pole position by agreeing a fee rather than haggling… https://t.co/WSpBqwhyWO
— Melissa Reddy (@MelissaReddy_) June 28, 2022
On the subject of Raphinha’s personal terms, Romano later tweeted new Blues owner, Todd Boehly, is aiming to wrap up a deal with all haste.
Transfer hijackings have been the order of the day, with Manchester United stepping on Lyon’s toes over Tyrell Malacia. West Ham are also mulling a move for long-time Arsenal target, Youri Tielemans, per the Mirror.
Chelsea are determined not to let that happen over Raphinha. Romano added talks with Raphinha’s agent, Deco, are currently a ‘work in progress’ regarding personal terms.
New Sterling approach coming
Should Raphinha sign at Stamford Bridge, he could quickly be followed by Raheem Sterling.
Thomas Tuchel has reportedly already spoken with the Man City winger who could be available around the £50m mark.
The German boss wants two wingers, and according to Romano, Chelsea ‘will send a new bid to Man City’ soon.
Raphinha, Sterling big upgrades
The current options at Chelsea are far from poor ones. However, the likes of Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner have never truly hit the heights since arriving.
Ziyech is likely to be the direct casualty of Raphinha’s arrival, and a move to AC Milan is shaping up.
Elsewhere, Romelu Lukaku remains on course to re-join Inter Milan on loan. Sky Sports stated Inter will pay the entirety of his wages after the Belgian agreed a 30 percent pay-cut. The Blues will also receive a substantial loan fee.
A potential front three of Sterling and Raphinha flanking Kai Havertz looks filled with movement, pace. trickery, and most importantly, goals. Mason Mount will have a strong say in the matter too,