Leeds United have rejected Arsenal’s first official bid for Raphinha, but the Gunners are expected to continue negotiations.

LEEDS, ENGLAND: Raphinha of Leeds United applauds fans after their side's defeat during the Premier League match between Leeds United and Newcastle United at Elland Road on January 22, 2022. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)
LEEDS, ENGLAND: Raphinha of Leeds United applauds fans after their side’s defeat during the Premier League match between Leeds United and Newcastle United at Elland Road on January 22, 2022. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

David Ornstein of The Athletic broke the news on Tuesday night that Arsenal had sent their first formal offer to Leeds for Raphinha, but it fell well below Leeds’ valuation and was expected to be rejected.

Ornstein then confirmed on Wednesday morning that the bid had been rejected. But Arsenal’s interest remains strong, with Mikel Arteta very keen and Edu on good terms with the player’s agent.

Ornstein added that Barcelona are Raphinha’s favoured option, but their pursuit is complicated by the finances involved.

Chelsea are also a popular option with the player as they have Champions League football and solid trophy prospects.

But so far, Arsenal are seemingly the only club to make a move.

The Daily Mail and Dharmesh Sheth of Sky Sports report that Arsenal will come back with a new offer for the winger, after that first bid was rejected.

Fabrizio Romano adds that Tottenham Hotspur have informed Leeds they want to make a bid, though they seemingly haven’t done so yet. Ornstein claims Raphinha isn’t Spurs’ first-choice target.

Romano also writes that Leeds will never accept the €40-45m Barcelona are seemingly willing to offer. So unless something changes for the La Liga side, it seems like they aren’t really in the race.

Leeds United's Brazilian midfielder Raphinha Dias Belloli moves off to take a set-piece during the English Premier League football match between Leeds United and Tottenham Hotspur at Elland Road in Leeds, northern England on February 26, 2022. (Photo by JON SUPER/AFP via Getty Images)
Leeds United’s Brazilian midfielder Raphinha Dias Belloli moves off to take a set-piece during the English Premier League football match between Leeds United and Tottenham Hotspur at Elland Road in Leeds, northern England on February 26, 2022. (Photo by JON SUPER/AFP via Getty Images)

All of the above reports follow on from the claims that Raphinha’s agent was in London and at London Colney earlier this week.

That strongly suggests the player is open to the move. You don’t submit a formal bid for a player if the agent has just told you his client doesn’t want to join.

Time may be of the essence, as agreeing a deal while Spurs are prioritising another target, Barcelona are in a financial mess, and Chelsea haven’t formalised their interest could be Arsenal’s best bet at getting the deal done.

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