Edu reveals truth behind Arsenal's pursuit of Raphinha

Tom Gott
Raphinha ended up at Barcelona
Raphinha ended up at Barcelona / David Ramos/GettyImages

Arsenal director Edu has confessed that the club were never really close to signing Raphinha from Leeds this summer as it was made clear he was holding out for a move to Barcelona.

The Gunners were among the first sides to present an offer to Leeds this summer but eventually backed off from a deal as Chelsea agreed a fee for the 25-year-old, but all that did was spark Barcelona into life and Raphinha eventually made his way to Camp Nou in a €65m deal.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Edu admitted he learned very quickly that Raphinha was pushing for Barcelona instead of Arsenal or Chelsea.

"People think we went in too deep about Raphinha, because Raphinha was everywhere," he said.

"It's fair we did have some conversations with Deco because Deco is his agent and I have a good relationship [with him] - we are friends.

"I just said to Deco, 'Can you explain to me the situation with Raphinha?' and he was clear, 'Edu, we have a good relationship but I'm not going to lie to you, his idea is to go to Barcelona because he's dreaming to go to Barcelona, and we've been talking to Barcelona since a long time ago'.

"Okay, thank you very much, if something happens then just let me know because I can explore and understand the situation. If not, no problem and we carry on with our relationship."

Despite missing out on Raphinha, the Gunners have been incredibly active this summer. Arsenal have already signed Gabriel Jesus, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Fabio Vieira and Marquinhos, while USMNT goalkeeper Matt Turner also completed his long-awaited move to the Emirates.

On the importance of agreeing transfer targets with manager Mikel Arteta, Edu added: "100%. I'm never ever going to sign a player which Mikel is not comfortable with, never. That's not my style and for sure it's not the Arsenal style.

"If we decide to work together then the decision needs to be together. It's not Mikel's signings, it's not Edu's signings, it's the Arsenal signings so that for me is the most important thing for people to understand.

"I always say people sometimes give the credit to me or to Mikel, but the credit has to go to Arsenal. We are Arsenal, we are working together and the decision we make is together.

"Around one decision is not only Edu and Mikel, it's a lot of people around those decisions. The most important message to the fans and for people to understand is that we sign players for Arsenal and [they are] Arsenal's decisions."