Arsenal’s biggest regret of the summer transfer window was failing to land the signature of Raphinha, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Leeds United's Brazilian midfielder Raphinha Dias Belloli celebrates after scoring the opening goal from the penalty spot during the English Premier League football match between Brentford and Leeds United at Brentford Community Stadium in London on May 22, 2022. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Leeds United’s Brazilian midfielder Raphinha Dias Belloli celebrates after scoring the opening goal from the penalty spot during the English Premier League football match between Brentford and Leeds United at Brentford Community Stadium in London on May 22, 2022. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Speaking on the Que Golazo podcast ahead of the north London derby, Fabrizio Romano suggested that Arsenal’s biggest regret from the summer transfer window was FC Barcelona winger Raphinha.

“Raphinha was the top priority,” Romano said. “I think the biggest regret of the market for Arsenal was Raphinha. They wanted him. Raphinha was really open to discussing with Arsenal at some point.”

With Leeds United avoiding relegation, Raphinha appeared to be on the market for a willing buyer.

A move to Barcelona had been all but guaranteed if Leeds went down, as he had an affordable release clause in that scenario. But it initially seemed as if the La Liga club wouldn’t be able to afford him without that clause.

That opened the door to Chelsea and Arsenal, who both made attempts to do a deal. Then Barcelona found £55m from somewhere and Raphinha completed the move he’d seemingly always wanted.

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)

It’s not particularly damning for Arsenal that they missed out on the signing, as Barcelona were clearly always Raphinha’s first-choice option.

Perhaps there’s a sense that they could have moved more decisively early in the window, before Barcelona had time to act. Even then, Raphinha may have simply stalled until he was sure that transfer was off the table.

Arsenal fans were arguably more frustrated by the lack of a move for an alternative winger, but the Gunners stuck to their guns and refused to make a signing for the sake of numbers. Whether that will cost them remains to be seen.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.