Arsenal technical director Edu has revealed how close the club were to signing Raphinha from Leeds United this summer.
The Brazilian forward completed a move to Barcelona for £49m, but several clubs were in the race for his signature, including Arsenal and Chelsea.
Prior to signing for the Blaugrana, Leeds United boss Jesse Marsch revealed a move to Catalonia was Raphinha’s “dream”, effectively ruling out a transfer elsewhere.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has been very active in the market this summer, bringing in five players for a combined £113m, including Gabriel Jesus, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Fabio Vieira, but Raphinha was supposedly seen as the ideal replacement for misfiring record transfer Nicolas Pepe.
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The nine-capped Brazil international has been electric in pre-season since joining Xavi’s side, following up an unofficial debut goal against Inter Miami, by netting the match-winner in Sunday’s off-season Clasico against Real Madrid.
Edu told Sky Sports: “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’.
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“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.”
Despite already making considerable headway in this summer’s transfer window, Arteta refused to shut the door on further activity transpiring before the market closes in early September.
The Arsenal boss added: “I think we have to be prepared for every situation. We still feel the transfer window is open and the most important thing is to be prepared for everything, every scenario, because opportunities can happen.
“Clubs can approach us, players probably want to go on loan, so there’s still lots to do, but again, being prepared for me is the most important [thing] and for sure we are very much prepared for almost everything.”