Arsenal could look to play Raphinha in a central role next season if they manage to sign him from Leeds, according to journalist Jacque Talbot.
Raphinha has predominantly played as a right winger at Elland Road, but Talbot would not be surprised to see that change, should he move to the Emirates Stadium.
What’s the latest news involving Raphinha?
The Athletic’s David Ornstein has claimed that Arsenal made a formal offer to Leeds for Raphinha on Tuesday, but it was rejected by their Premier League rivals.
The Gunners remain interested in the Brazilian forward, who was labelled as “world-class” by former Leeds goalkeeper Paul Robinson last season, but he has also attracted interest from Barcelona, Chelsea and Tottenham, so it could be difficult for them to win the race for his signature.
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What has Talbot said about Raphinha’s potential role at Arsenal?
Bukayo Saka won Arsenal’s Player of the Year last season after spending most of the campaign on the right wing, suggesting that it could be difficult for Raphinha to play in his favoured position at the Emirates.
Talbot thinks that Mikel Arteta could try to play Raphinha through the middle if he signs him, to accommodate the 25-year-old and Saka in his starting XI.
When asked about whether Raphinha could play centrally at Arsenal, Talbot told GIVEMESPORT: “Possibly. Arsenal, the amount of outgoings, Aubameyang they need to replace still, and Lacazette’s gone. A few years ago, them two were their key players.
“He’s a Premier League proven player, I think he’s been mooted for an exit from Leeds for quite a long time, so I suspect that Arsenal could utilise him through the middle there.”
Would Arteta be tempted to play Raphinha centrally?
Raphinha getting in the side ahead of Saka seems unlikely considering the Englishman’s form in the last couple of seasons.
However, he may also struggle to push Martin Odegaard out of the team. The Norway international made the No. 10 position his own at Arsenal last season, and captained the side in the latter stages of the campaign.
This leaves the lone striker role. At the moment, Arteta only has one No. 9 at his disposal in the shape of Eddie Nketiah, but Arsenal are also trying to get a deal for Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus over the line.
Would Raphinha start ahead of Jesus? Probably not. Therefore, he may have to bide his time initially, but Arsenal are back in Europe, and with the season being so congested next term due to the World Cup, he is likely to get opportunities either out wide or through the middle sooner rather than later.