Arsenal are pushing to try and capture their major transfer targets this summer, with the deals for Fabio Vieira already confirmed and the arrival of Gabriel Jesus from Manchester City already seemingly sorted, albeit not yet officially announced. However, a deal for their wide forward priority Raphinha remains in the balance.
There is interest from more than just Arsenal, with Barcelona, Spurs and Chelsea all said to be monitoring the situation, although only the Gunners have had a bid rejected so far. There is an expectation that Mikel Arteta’s side will push ahead again to try and agree on a deal.
However, there was a moment of concern when a report from Dario Sport claimed that the Gunners had pulled out of the race after being told Raphinha was blocking moves to English clubs, although this was quickly dismissed, with conflicting reports claiming this was not the case.
READ MORE: Why Arsenal are keen to sign Gabriel Jesus and Raphinha as Mikel Arteta chases title challengers
That said, it does not mean that Arsenal will be successful in their chase of Raphinha. Should a rival win the Brazilian’s signature, an alternative will be needed and football.london has compiled a list of three possibilities.
First is PSV winger Cody Gakpo. The Dutch international more than doubled the number of goal contributions that Raphinha mustered in the 2021/22 season.
Playing across five separate competitions, including Champions League qualifying, Gakpo secured 21 goals and 15 assists compared to the Leeds United winger’s 11 goals and three assists. Gakpo has the power and height that Arsenal currently do not possess in their ranks.
And the player’s natural ability to play on the left mean he would not clash with Bukayo Saka’s positioning as much as Raphinha does. Lastly, he would also be considerably less expensive than the £50million-plus that the Premier League side are after.
A step up in level to Gakpo, Moussa Diaby has been one of the most impressive wide players in Europe’s top five leagues in the last year. The partner to Patrik Schick, the now French international got 13 goals and 12 assists in 32 Bundesliga appearances.
Unlike Gakpo, Diaby has the added versatility of being able to play comfortably on both flanks. In his 42 matches last season, 23 were on the right with 14 on the left. Due to the three years remaining on his deal, though, Arsenal would surely be paying close to Raphinha levels of money to bring him in, although they do not seem uncomfortable parting with this amount.
Lastly, a more left-field pick and less well-known is Pedro Goncalves. The Sporting Lisbon attacker has vast versatility in being able to perform on either flank or in the middle and even behind the striker.
Now 23 years of age, he isn’t in the bracket of wonderkids, but he is still yet to be snapped up. With Arsenal building a large contingent of Portuguese speakers, Goncalves would fall easily into this group.
It is only a matter of time until a big club snatches Goncalves away. When you get 28 goal contributions in a season it becomes hard to ignore the potential talent.
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Source by Football London