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