Arsenal want Leeds United’s Raphinha to compete with Bukayo Saka for a spot in their starting eleven next season.
Raphinha does largely play on the right flank for Leeds, cutting in on his right foot in much the same way Saka does for Arsenal.
But he can also play on the other flank, with Saka also having played on the left for England, and it might have been the case that Mikel Arteta wanted the pair in the same team.
But the Daily Mail report that the Brazilian is wanted as competition for Saka, who was named the club’s player of the year last season.
Arsenal want Raphinha to compete with Saka
On the one hand, that feels like a bit of a strange one.
Arsenal need reinforcements in other areas of the pitch right now, so signing someone to battle with their best player is not the most logical step.
On the other, they need more creativity and threat across the pitch. Reducing the reliance on Saka would probably be a good thing.
Also, Saka’s contract situation remains up in the air, with no guarantees as of yet that he will commit his future to Arsenal.
Nobody connected with Arsenal would want Saka to go, but having Raphinha would soften the blow if he did eventually leave.
He is a player Daniel James has labelled a ‘magician‘, and has enjoyed two outstanding seasons at Elland Road, showing he has the quality to shine in the Premier League.
Having competition for places all over the pitch is what elite clubs do, and there would probably be times when they could both play in the same team anyway.