Raphinha, Paqueta, Departures and More

Anyone else hardly get a wink of sleep last night?

The big Arsenal news is surrounding a player that will not be joining us as Raphinha looks set to secure a move to Barcelona.

Barcelona was always his primary choice.

Talks of a deal between the Catalan club and his represents being agreed emerged in February. The only sticking point seemed to be about whether Barcelona could meet Leeds United’s evaluation.

Arsenal then “stepped in” and tried to get a deal done, before being gazumped by Chelsea.

Whether either side were actually close to getting a deal done is unknown.

Was it just media speculation? Deco (Raphinha’s agent) or Leeds leaking stories to the press in the hope of pushing the Barcelona bid up?

Eventually, Barcelona have found the cash needed behind the sofa to satisfy Leeds and get the deal done.

I always found it uncomfortable that we were looking to spend big on a player that would not immediately walk into our first team.

When you break it down, he losses possession more than Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli, is the worst passer of the 3 and assists the least.

It is only in goals that he is a leader – but still only equal to Saka. And by the time you take out penalties there is no difference between the 3.

Personally, I am happy with Saka and Martinelli on our wings next season.

We move on…

Speculation continues to circulate that we are interested in Lucas Paqueta.

The Brazilian was signed by Lyon to replace Houssem Aouar when the Frenchman looked to be on his way to Arsenal a couple of years ago. That deal never materialised.

This one feels like Arsenal are being used.

It is almost a carbon copy of our links to Bruno Guimarães.

We were never really in for Guimarães, but our name was used for hype and he eventually moved to Newcastle.

I would not be surprised if the exact same situation occurs over the next week and Paqueta joins his compatriot in the North-East.

The Geordies will celebrate once more, claiming to have beaten Arsenal to a second player (remember their club spent half of his official release video talking about The Arsenal). But the reality is if we wanted him, we would have signed him. Just like we would have signed Guimarães if we desired.

With Fabio Silva joining to play the left hand side of a midfield 3, I just can not see us signing another raw talent to also play there. And like with Raphinha, it will be a huge investment to sign him to play second fiddle to Saka.

Arsenal are heading off to America so I expect any transfers to slow down a little whilst Mikel Arteta will assess his squad.

We still have Bernd Leno, Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson , Hector Bellerin, Pablo Mari, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Lucas Torreira, Nicolas Pepe and Reiss Nelson at the club – a total of 33 members of a senior squad.

You feel ahead of any further arrivals we will have to sell or loan those 8 out.

Martin Odergaard as captain? That is a blog for another day….

Enjoy the day.



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