Tuesday, February 27News That Matters

Arsenal make contact with Barcelona player after missing out on Chelsea-bound Mudryk

Arsenal have opened discussions with the agent of Barcelona winger Raphinha after Chelsea hijacked their deal to sign Mykhailo Mudryk.

The North London side believed they were on the verge of signing Ukraine international Mudryk in a deal worth around £80m.

Mikel Arteta is desperate to improve his attacking options this month and the club identified Mudryk as their main January target.

But Chelsea have ruined their London rivals’ transfer plans by hijacking the transfer move and agreeing a £97m deal with Shakhtar Donetsk.

Mudryk has reportedly signed a seven-year contract at Chelsea and will undergo a medical on Sunday. He is then expected to attend Chelsea’s Premier League game against Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge.

With Mudryk set to become a Chelsea player, Arsenal have been forced to move their attentions elsewhere and have now revived their interest in Raphinha, according to the Evening Standard.

It is claimed Arsenal chief Edu is in contact with Raphinha’s agent Deco, with Barca said to be open to offers for the 26-year-old only six months after signing him from Leeds United.

Arsenal and Chelsea were both interested in signing Raphinha last summer but Barcelona secured his signature in a deal worth up to £55m.

Raphinha excelled at Elland Road but has endured a poor start to his Barcelona career, scoring two goals in 21 games for the Spanish giants.

Barcelona are also reported to be exploring the possibility of selling Ansu Fati and Ferran Torres but the club legend Rivaldo hopes they all stay at the club.

‘There are recent rumours about Barcelona potentially negotiating Ansu Fati, Ferran Torres or Raphinha transfers in order to aid their remaining financial problems that continue to harm the club,’ Rivaldo told Betfair.

‘Selling a player of Raphinha’s quality just six months after signing him would leave me very disappointed.

‘On one hand, it would end the player’s chance of making a name for himself at the club, and on the other hand it will give a sign to other players that they might want to think twice before deciding to join Barcelona in the future.

‘With Ansu Fati that would be even more incomprehensible since he has been seen as Lionel Messi’s successor for a while and giving up on him that easily would be a shock for me.

‘The club needs to retain their best players, especially the ones with great potential who could become our future stars.’

Premier League leaders Arsenal have the chance to move eight points clear when they travel across north London to face arch-rivals Tottenham on Sunday.

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