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Could Arsenal pounce for Barcelona midfielder Rafinha?

Rob Meech

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Rafinha

Speculation has emerged that Rafinha could be about to switch the Nou Camp for the Emirates. The 24-year-old has made 78 appearances in all competitions for Barcelona, but Sky Sports are reporting that he has been offered to Arsenal for a transfer fee of €30 million (27 million euros).

Barcelona are well stocked in the central midfield department and as such, the Brazilian now seems to be surplus to requirements at the Catalan giants. Wenger’s love for an attacking midfielder is well known and he is looking to strengthen his squad after missing out on qualification for the Champions League.

What would he bring?

Despite not being a mainstay of the starting XI, Rafinha had established himself as a valuable member of the squad and contributed six goals in 18 La Liga appearances last term – a season’s best for him in a Barcelona shirt. He represented Spain at youth level but switched allegiances to Brazil, the country of his birth, for whom he has two caps.

He represented Spain at youth level but switched allegiances to Brazil, the country of his birth, for whom he has two caps.

Rafinha is a creative player who likes to dictate play. He is capable of beating opposing players and as well as having an eye for goal. He also has the vision to unlock defences. The 24-year-old’s playing style would suit Arsenal.

With Jack Wilshere’s future at the club uncertain, according to the Telegraph, the Barcelona man could be the ideal replacement and also provide competition for Aaron Ramsey, who arguably has failed to kick on in the past couple of years.

On paper, Rafinha and Arsenal appear to be a good fit and he would certainly strengthen the Gunners’ attacking options. However, Wenger is still believed to be keen on landing Thomas Lemar from Monaco, as latest reports in the Mirror suggest. However, the Ligue 1 outfit are driving a hard bargain, and he may not feel that signing both is feasible.

Remember, Wenger – a reluctant spender – has already splashed out on more than £45 million on striker Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon.

Rob is a freelance writer, specialising in football, who previously worked as a sports journalist at the Dorset Echo. A long-standing AFC Bournemouth supporter, Rob can often be found on the terraces at the Vitality Stadium. Follow him on Twitter - @RobMeech

Arsenal

Liverpool receive blow as Caglar Soyuncu reveals desire to play for Arsenal

Arsenal appear to have won the race for the player’s signature.

Jamie Watts

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Liverpool have recieved a blow in their attempts to sign Freiburg defender Caglar Soyuncu, as the player has revealed his desire to play for Arsenal next term, in quotes via Turkish outlet Gunes.

Jurgen Klopp is said to be keen on landing the 22-year-old’s signature this summer, as the team search for a long-term partner to develop alongside star defender Virgil van Dijk next term, according to the Mirror.

However Arsenal are also keen admirers of the Turkish international’s talents, with new boss Unai Emery weighing up a potential move for his services this summer, according to the Sun. And the team sit in poll position.

Photo: Getty Images

“Arsenal is a proposal. I go to Arsenal. I want to play there, but everything is connected. Because I have a contract for 3 more years,” the player revealed.  And now it looks as though the north London club has won the race, if they increase their interest in signing Soyuncu.

The young defender is renowned for his superb reading of the game and his quality range of passing – boasting 81 per cent passing completion last term – garnering comparisons to the likes of seasoned veteran Mats Hummels.

His two footedness and explosive pace over short distances also suit the Premier League, and Arsenal could now land a serious talent with the potential to become a superstar at the Emirates.

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Arsenal

Criticism of Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson unfair? stats suggest he’s England’s best option

The midfielder came under scrutiny for his latest performance.

Jamie Watts

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England put an end to the World Cup opener curse after Harry Kane’s stoppage time header ensured England started the tournament with maximum points, with Tunisia looking more than likely to take their share of points in Volograd.

A promising opening 20 minutes was encored by ponderous and slow football in the second half, after the team began looking seemingly affected by Tunisia’s equaliser. The additions of Marcus Rashford and Ruben Loftus-Cheek added impetus and purpose to the attack late on. But prior to that, England struggled in pursuit of a second, and Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson came under fire for what was deemed to be a lack of creativity.

Photo: Getty Images

Many fans were questioning the omission of Jack Wilshere from England duties, as Gareth Southgate opted for the Liverpool man as the regular in central midfield. But last season’s statistics show some maybe being preemptive in wanting to replace the 28-year-old this World Cup.

Squawka stats (below) show that the Liverpool man was superior to both Eric Dier and Jack Wilshere in all aspects of midfield play in the Premier League last term, suggesting he could very well be the right man to continue starting for the Three Lions.

The former Sunderland man bested his two counterparts for number of forward passes, average pass length, key passes, tackles won, aerial duels won and chances created (all per 90 minutes), which sheds some light on why he’s a regular in Southgate’s team.

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Arsenal and Chelsea receive huge boost in pursuit of Aleksandr Golovin

The London rivals have been given an edge over Juventus in the pursuit it seems.

Jamie Watts

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Photo: Getty Images

London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea have recieved a huge boost in their pursuit of Russian maestro Aleksandr Golovin, after the play-maker’s father revealed he is currently learning English, in quotes via Russian outlet Komsomolskaya Pravda.

Italian giants Juventus are said to be courting the CSKA Moscow midfielder closely, with some reports even claiming a deal had been agreed between the two clubs (Calciomercato). However, the new revelation from the player’s father suggests the move is anything but a formality, and Chelsea and Arsenal remain in the race.

“He [Golovin] now has one thing on his mind: the Russian team. But if such proposals are made, I believe that he will go abroad, play abroad,” the Russian international’s father claimed.

“Their football is of a different level, there is nowhere to hide. Speeds are different. I’m sure my son will be able to play at a new level. It will be more difficult with a foreign language. But I know that he has already started learning English.”

Photo: Getty Images

Arsenal have no plans of slowing down in the transfer window after agreeing a deal for 34-year-old Stephan Lichtsteiner and closing in on Lucas Torreira. SportBILD claims that a deal for Bernd Leno is also close to being completed, as personal terms have been agreed. And now it would appear Unai Emery is keen on continuing the pursuit for Golovin.

However, they will face stern competition from west London, as Chelsea have expressed an interest in signing the 22-year-old, with the Express claiming that the club are looking to quickly encore the managerial appointment of Maurizio Sarri with the Italian’s long-spanning target.

CSKA are said to want £22 million before they would be willing to do business for a player they regard as one of the most influential in their squad, while they also assert that a sell-on clause will be part of any deal, to ensure they dont miss out should the player’s market value drastically increase in the future, according to The Sun.

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