Arsenal's Premier League Fixtures 2022/23
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Arsenal could be set to emerge as the clear frontrunners to land Raphinha this summer, with Thomas Tuchel planning on handing the Leeds United winger an unfamiliar role if he is snapped up by Chelsea, according to reports. Raphinha is thought to be keen on leaving Elland Road in search of a new challenge and is believed to be a priority target for Arsenal, with Mikel Arteta a huge admirer of the 25-year-old’s qualities.
The Gunners are said to have seen a bid rejected out of hand by Leeds earlier this month, with the Yorkshire outfit unwilling to accept any offer that falls below the £65million mark this summer. Arsenal still appear to be leading the race for his signature, though, in spite of Chelsea’s interest in snapping up Raphinha from under the noses of their London rivals.
Thomas Tuchel is believed to be a keen admirer of the Leeds winger, who chipped in with 11 goals in the Premier League over the course of last season. However, the German boss could risk losing out on a move for Raphinha after drawing up plans to deploy him in a wing-back role, according to David Ornstein.
“Chelsea like Raphinha a lot,” he told The Athletic. “They present Champions League football, but they’re still getting their recruitment plans together.
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“They also, as I understand it, would quite like to play him as a wing-back. I’m not sure if he would want that.”
Raphinha has featured as a wing-back on a handful of occasions for Leeds but has failed to impress to the degree that he so often does in his usual role at Elland Road. It remains to be seen whether the idea of playing in defence on a consistent basis will put him off the idea of joining Chelsea and give Arsenal the upper hand in the battle to secure his services over the coming weeks.
The north Londoners are said to be planning a new and improved bid for Raphinha, who scored a crucial spot-kick against Brentford on the final day of last season to help Leeds retain their Premier League status for another year. Former Gunners striker Kevin Campbell recently suggested that Raphinha’s presence at the Emirates Stadium could relieve the pressure on Bukayo Saka, who he feels Arsenal have relied on too heavily in recent months.
“Saka has been overused, let’s be brutally honest,” Campbell told Football Insider. “[Nicolas] Pepe should have been coming in and carrying the can but Mikel Arteta couldn’t rely on him, he needs somebody he can rely on.
“If Saka is on the bench and Raphinha is playing you know you are going to get quality and work rate at the top end of the pitch. You also know that he is going to beat his man.
“That is what you want, you can mix and match and interchange, those pieces can move around. That is key.”
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