It’s set to be a busy summer for Arsenal as Mikel Arteta looks to follow up last year’s spending spree by strengthening his squad with top-quality additions.
The Spaniard made it very clear that it was time to take things to another level following a period of reducing the wage bill and building a young team filled with potential.
So far, it seems he certainly wasn’t lying, judging by the business done so far and the intensifying links to other targets. The Gunners managed to fend off reported interest from the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham to land Fabio Vieira from FC Porto for £34m. He is set to be joined by the £7.5m arrival of goalkeeper Matt Turner in the coming days.
Young Brazilian forward Marquinhos was the first summer signing to be confirmed. He arrived for around £3m from Sao Paulo and is expected to be given a chance to impress during pre-season. However, the business doesn’t stop there, with Arsenal continuing talks over more potential deals.
Negotiations to bring Gabriel Jesus to the Emirates are said to be ‘advancing’, while bids for Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez and Leeds United winger Raphinha have already been rejected, according to various reports. Discussions regarding the latter two appear ongoing, with Arteta, a serious admirer of both players.
Raphinha is one of the bigger talking points among supporters at the moment, with Chelsea, Tottenham and Barcelona also keeping an eye on the situation. It’s a link which has caused great excitement, which is understandable considering his clear talent and quality.
The 25-year-old has been a standout for Leeds, scoring 17 goals and providing 12 assists in 67 appearances. The Brazilian is a major attacking threat possessing skill and pace. He’s become a real handful for Premier League defenders.
You could say he’s similar to Riyad Mahrez. He likes to cut in on his left foot to get a shot away or deliver a dangerous cross whilst also offering the pace and tricky feet. The Algerian international is someone who Arsene Wenger was seriously interested in signing for Arsenal five years ago when he was still at Leicester City.
Like Raphinha is at Leeds, Mahrez was often a standout for the Foxes, which led to the former Arsenal boss becoming a big fan of his. Speaking in 2017, Wenger told beIN Sports: “We have not made a bid, but personally, I like the player, yes.”
Following strong interest, Arsenal eventually missed out on Mahrez just a year later when Manchester City came in strongly with a £60m bid. But Mikel Arteta could finally complete Wenger’s mission of securing one of the league’s most talented wingers, though again, it may prove challenging.
Coincidently, Raphinha’s price tag could be in the same region as Mahrez’s, with some suggestions that Leeds are demanding around £65m for his services.