Former Tottenham Hotspur striker and Arsenal fan Darren Bent has expressed his disappointment that the Gunners are reportedly set to miss out on Leeds United star Raphinha.
The Brazilian continues to be linked with a move away from Leeds this summer, and Arsenal had been in the running for his signature. However, Chelsea have had a £60 million bid for the 25-year-old accepted by Leeds while Barcelona looked to hijack the potential deal.
That puts the Gunners in a disadvantage regarding their pursuit of Raphinha, and Bent is disappointed by the latest developments. He told talkSPORT (via HITC):
“Obviously, you are disappointed because you want the best players. How can Arsenal, at the minute, compete with Chelsea?
Chelsea can present Raphinha the opportunity to play in the UEFA Champions League, which the Gunners cannot. Bent continued:
“They are throwing their money about, and they are playing Champions League football. They are the closest, I would say, to catching Liverpool or Manchester City; so I can understand a player in that position, why would you not opt to go to Chelsea?"
Bent compared Raphinha with Manchester City star Riyad Mahrez, while citing Chelsea's Champions League participation as a key factor in their Raphinha pursuit:
"Raphinha, they can get over the line. I am devastated because I think he’s a really, really good player. He’s neat and tidy. Reminds me a bit of Mahrez, with the way he moves – but Arsenal aren’t in the Champions League, and Chelsea are.”
Raphinha played a key role in ensuring Leeds' top-flight status last season, bagging 11 goals and three assists in 35 league appearances.
Arsenal considering Cody Gakpo as potential Raphinha alternative
Chelsea and Barcelona seem the most likely suitors for Leeds United star Raphinha, meaning Gunners manager Mikel Arteta will have to reconsider his options.
The Gunners have already lured FC Porto playmaker Fabio Vieira to the Emirates Stadium. They are also on the verge of signing Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus.
One player have been linked to in this window is PSV Eindhoven winger Cody Gakpo. The 23-year-old Dutch forward excelled for the Eredivisie giants last season, scoring 21 goals and contributing 15 assists in 46 appearances across competitions.
Interestingly, Leeds have reportedly joined the Gunners and Chelsea in the pursuit of Gakpo, who could be a potential Raphinha alternative for Arsenal. So Arteta needs to move quickly to lure the Dutch star to north London this summer.
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