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Arsenal and Newcastle United could reportedly compete with Chelsea this summer for the services of Barcelona’s Brazilian forward Raphinha.
The 26-year-old made the move to Camp Nou from Leeds United in July of last year and he has been an integral member of Xavi’s squad this season, appearing 37 times, scoring nine goals, and dishing out nine assists for the Catalan giants.
Raphina has Sparkled at Xavi’s Barca
In 24 La Liga matches, Raphinha has recorded six goals and four assists, while in the Champions League, Europa League, and Copa del Rey, he has managed three goals and five assists.
Despite that impressive tally and the fact that he has been a regular under Xavi this season, his future is currently the subject of discussion at Camp Nou as Barcelona may be forced to make difficult decisions this summer due to their financial difficulties.
Raphinha is reportedly considered as a player capable of commanding a premium price this summer, and according to a recent source, Chelsea are closely monitoring the situation.
Last summer, when it became apparent that the Brazil international would be departing Leeds United for a side competing at a higher level, the Blues were widely linked to him.
But, Barcelona ultimately prevailed in its pursuit of the right-sided attacker, who inked a contract with the Catalan giants through the 2026-27 season.
The fact that former Barca player Deco is Raphina’s agent proved vital in earning the Brazilian international his move to La Liga.
Premier League Sides Race for Raphina
Arsenal and Newcastle are reportedly also interested in signing the South American, which may create a Premier League contest for his services this summer.
Throughout the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons, Raphinha excelled at Leeds, scoring 17 goals and contributing 12 assists in 67 appearances across all competitions for the Whites.
The player was brought from Ligue 1 side Rennes for a meagre fee of £17.5 million to Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds and was sold to Barca last summer for close to £60 million due to his form at the club.
The sporting director of Arsenal, Edu, has indicated that the Gunners will be active during the upcoming transfer window, with at least one new forward expected to come this summer.
The recent takeover of Newcastle has given them one of the wealthiest clubs in the world, putting them in a position to compete for the greatest names in world football.
Eddie Howe’s side is now in fifth place in the table, four points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur with two games in hand.
In order to have a chance of acquiring Raphinha, the Magpies will likely have to qualify for the Champions League next season.
Otherwise, the Brazilian will likely select a club that is competing in the Champions League every season.
Arsenal lead the English top flight by five points over second-place Manchester City, and their return to the Champions League for next season is virtually assured.
However, Chelsea are 10th in the table, 11 points behind fourth-place Spurs, and have struggled for much of the season to display their finest form.