‘Going to be key’: Watts says Arsenal has open talks to sign £56m PL forward, but Arsenal needs to sell £72m attacker first


Charles Watts has suggested on his YouTube channel that he has learned that Arsenal do indeed want Raphinha, but a deal for the Brazilian is unlikely unless Nicolas Pepe leaves this summer.

The Gunners have reportedly been monitoring Raphinha for months. And it seems that Mikel Arteta’s men are now ready to step up their interest in the Leeds United star.

Of course, it has appeared that Barcelona are on pole position to sign Raphinha. Previous claimed that he had already agreed personal terms on a five-year deal at the Nou Camp. However, the Gunners are hoping to upset the apple cart.

Leeds reportedly want £56 million for Raphinha. Watts noted that Barca remain favourites to secure his signature. And he suggested that Arsenal probably have little chance of doing a deal unless they manage to offload Pepe during the coming months.

“I have since been able to confirm that news that Arsenal are indeed interested in Raphinha. As far as I’m aware, the interest hasn’t got to any official stage yet. Arsenal haven’t started official talks with Leeds. This is all muscling for position behind the scenes really. Barcelona still very much the favourites when it comes to him,” he said on his YouTube channel.

“I think what happens with Nicolas Pepe is going to be key. I don’t see a way that Raphinha arrives if Nicolas Pepe stays. They both play in the same position, both play on the right. You’ve got Bukayo Saka there already. And it doesn’t really make sense financially if you’re bringing Raphinha in while Pepe is still at the club.”

Arsenal want Raphinha

It would be quite the statement if Arsenal signed Raphinha. There were reports that he was so determined to join Barcelona that he snubbed Liverpool.

And he would certainly be a major upgrade on Pepe. Of course, on his day, the Ivorian is a sensational player, capable of ‘outstanding‘ performances. However, his day has not come around anywhere near often enough while he has been in North London.

Raphinha has scored more goals and provided more assists in 13 fewer Premier League appearances than Pepe.

Having said that, Arsenal not only need to offload Pepe, but they also need to convince Raphinha to move to the Emirates while Barcelona are lurking.

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