Arsenal: Raphinha could repeat Sanchez masterclass
Arsenal have already enjoyed a fine start to this summer’s dealings, but could now add the finishing touches to a squad so nearly ready to dominate the Premier League.
SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT
How much would Raphinha cost?
Although the deal in question concerns a man who has spent only one year at the Nou Camp, rumours continue to persist linking Raphinha with an exit from Barcelona this window.
The Gunners are one of many clubs to have been touted as a suitor, as the Catalonian outfit continue to be plagued by financial troubles that could well need offsetting at any given moment.
Read the latest Leeds transfer news HERE…
Despite this, they are unwilling to back down on their lofty price tag, having demanded €80m (£69m) back in May and clearly sticking with it.
This is despite Football Transfers valuing the 26-year-old at just €41m (£35m), with the Spanish outfit having spent £55m to pry the Brazilian from Leeds United last summer.
How many goals has Raphinha scored for Barcelona?
Should the north London outfit once again look to Barcelona for transfers, it makes it hard not to reminisce about their last successful permanent export from such a footballing heavyweight.
In the summer of 2014, many clubs lined up to offer terms to the wantaway Alexis Sanchez. He had starred for three years in the famous blue and red jersey but sought pastures new, likely to climb out of Lionel Messi’s impossibly large shadow.
Selecting the Emirates as his new home, it did not take him long to acclimatise to his surroundings following the £35m move. The electric Chilean would score 25 goals in all competitions during that debut year, assisting a further 12 and lighting up English football in an instant.
This was form that would remain unrelenting, as he posted 28 goal contributions the season following, and a magnificent 48 during an exceptional 2016/17 campaign.
Despite his unceremonious exit to join Manchester United, he remains one of the finest Arsenal players in recent history, with Manuel Pellegrini even branding him: “the best player in English football” in 2015.
Should Raphinha now seek to tread that same path, the hope will be he can enjoy even half as successful a tenure as Sanchez did, tearing up defences and hopefully propelling them to elite honours from the flank.
His form last term is suggestive of reaching such a level, as he notched ten goals and assisted 12 more across all competitions during his first year in Spain.
Shrugging off a tough start to the season, he would eventually earn huge praise from his boss Xavi:
“As for Raphinha, he was intense, he attacked spaces, and gave us key things in attack and he is doing decisive things.
“Now it seems to me that he stands out more as he is an extraordinary player.”
Given he departed Elland Road following an 11-goal haul that kept them afloat in the Premier League, he arguably boasts even more experience than his predecessor did when he made the same switch.
Therefore, the odds are in his favour to thrive and even surpass those levels set by the current free agent.
After all, he was lauded as a “magician” by teammate Daniel James during his final year in west Yorkshire, as if to offer an additional endorsement of his qualities.
The north London outfit enjoyed a huge masterclass with their last permanent acquisition from Barcelona, so there is every reason to take that big-money risk again, with the possibility it could bring titles back to the Emirates.