Arsenal have a hidden advantage in the transfer race for Leeds star Raphinha

The Gunners are said to be leading the race for the in-demand Brazil international, but Leeds United are not in a position where they desperately need to sell.

Raphinha appears to be at the top of Arsenal’s transfer wishlist

Arsenal are stepping up their push to sign Leeds United star Raphinha as the Gunners look to bolster the club’s Brazilian contingent.

The Gunners are close to signing Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus. Mikel Arteta was keen to reunite with the striker after the couple’s timeshare at the Etihad when the Spaniard was Pep Guardiola’s assistant.

Arsenal’s first acquisition this summer came in the form of talented Brazilian teenager Marquinhos after signing the wonderkid away from Sao Paulo. There are also, quite crucially, two members of the Selecao already plying their trade at the Emirates in Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Magalhaes.

The latter could play a vital role in attracting Raphinha to North London due to their longstanding friendship, which dates back to the early stages of their respective careers. Speaking late last year, Gabriel opened up about his relationship with the Arsenal transfer target.

“We had a Whatsapp group that we were always in contact with since our Avai days (they used to play together),” the centre-back explained. “We shared the same accommodation. We are very good friends.”

This friendship could make a big difference when it comes to beating Chelsea and fierce rivals Tottenham for the signing of Raphinha.

Gabriel Magalhaes and Arsenal transfer target Raphinha are longtime friends

HAVE YOUR SAY! Where will Raphinha play his football next season? Comments below

Arsenal have already submitted a bid for the 25-year-old but it was believed to be well below the £65million price tag the Elland Road hierarchy had placed on his head. Not to be deterred, the Gunners are preparing a second offer with further discussions between the two teams expected in the coming days. It is now widely known that of all of Raphinha’s suitors, the Gunners are leading the charge for his services.

Rumors have it that Chelsea and Spurs have started to put other plans in place. The Blues are eyeing Raheem Sterling, while neighbors Arsenal are aiming to sign another Brazilian, Everton talisman Richarlison.

Raphinha has made it clear to the Leeds board that he has no intention of signing another contract at Elland Road. An exit this summer would mark the club’s best chance of generating a significant fee to make up for his inevitable departure.

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