Arsenal director Edu Gaspar has confirmed that the club were interested in signing Raphinha from Leeds United this summer, but the Brazilian rejected them in favour of a transfer to Barcelona.
Raphinha sparked quite the transfer war this summer as the likes of Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal contested for his signing along with Barça.
Chelsea had lodged an offer for the 25-year-old Brazilian international. However, the winger held out for a move to Camp Nou, eventually forcing Leeds to accept the bid tabled by the Catalans, which was lower than what Chelsea had offered.
Like Chelsea, Arsenal too were reported to have made an offer for Raphinha, but it was not considered significant enough by the Whites.
And Edu has now acknowledged that the Gunners were indeed keen on signing the ex-Leeds attacker. Speaking to Sky Sports, the Arsenal director said:
“People think we went in too deep about Raphinha because Raphinha was everywhere. 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.
I just said to Deco, ‘Can you explain to me the situation with Raphinha?’ and he was clear, ‘Edu, we have a good relationship but I’m not going to lie to you, his idea is to go to Barcelona because he’s dreaming to go to Barcelona, and we’ve been talking to Barcelona since a long time ago’.
“Okay, thank you very much, if something happens then just let me know because I can explore and understand the situation. If not, no problem and we carry on with our relationship.”
Barcelona eventually landed Raphinha for a fee of around €58 million plus €9 million in add-ons. The 25-year-old has been in good form in pre-season, already making an impact by scoring two goals and assisting one in two matches.