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Arsenal chief Edu may have secret weapon to beat Tottenham and Barcelona to £65m target | Football | Sport

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director Edu has reportedly been tasked with battling the likes of Tottenham and Barcelona to land Leeds United winger Raphinha before the new Premier League campaign gets underway. The Gunners are said to have already seen an opening bid rejected for the Brazilian forward, who has emerged as one of the club’s top targets as Mikel Arteta looks to improve his attacking ranks over the course of this summer, but they may have a secret weapon to beat the competition to his signature.

A number of other clubs are said to be equally keen on Raphinha, with Tottenham, Barcelona and Chelsea all having been linked with a move for his services over the last few months. However, it remains to be seen whether Edu will have the upper hand in negotiations due to his strong relationship with the player’s agent, Deco.

Edu and Deco are often spotted interacting with each other on social media, with the former regularly commenting on the latter’s Instagram posts to highlight the strong bond between the pair. Deco is set to play a major role in finding Raphinha’s next club over the coming weeks and his friendship with Edu may be able to swing proceedings in Arsenal’s favour this summer.

Raphinha remains tied down to Leeds until 2024 and there are no guarantees that he will be sold in advance of the new campaign in spite of Arsenal’s interest in his signature. He recently insisted that his main priority will be to ensure his place in the Brazil squad for this year’s World Cup in Qatar, which suggests that a high-profile move to a bigger club may be in his best interests.

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“If I say that it doesn’t matter, I would be lying,” said Raphinha, as reported by Globo. “Knowing that there are less than six months left for the [World] Cup, you have to be active in the clubs, that weighs on the decision, but I trust my potential.

“If it’s to stay or leave, I’ll do my best, look for my space and I’ll try to be well for the World Cup. I have a contract with Leeds until 2024, my future is in the hands of Deco and Leeds.

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“I have my mind on the national team, on the game and also on my vacation, we need a vacation. I have a contract with Leeds and this issue is resolved by my manager, when something is right, he sends [it to] me.”

Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether Arsenal will be able to tempt Leeds into selling Raphinha, who has reportedly been valued at around £65million by the Yorkshire outfit. The club already have two right-sided wingers in Bukayo Saka and Nicolas Pepe, but the latter’s future appears to be uncertain due to his lack of game time and it seems likely that he could be replaced by Raphinha if Edu gets his wish in the transfer market this summer.

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