Paul Merson tips Arsenal to make move to sign Raphinha from FC Barcelona
Paul Merson feels that Arsenal may move to land Raphinha from FC Barcelona after missing out on Mykhailo Mudryk
Paul Merson is tipping Arsenal to make a move to sign Raphinha from FC Barcelona this month after having missed out on Mykhailo Mudryk.
The Gunners had been strongly linked with a move to bring Ukraine forward Mudryk to The Emirates in the January transfer window but were pipped to his signature by London rivals Chelsea FC.
Chelsea FC confirmed the signing of the 22-year-old from Shakhtar Donetsk on Sunday in a deal reported to be worth in the region of £88.5m.
Arsenal, who were impressive 2-0 winners over north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, now have two weeks to find another potential option to bolster their frontline, with Gabriel Jesus still sidelined due to injury.
Former Arsenal midfielder Merson reckons the Gunners may well make a move to land Raphinha this month and could be helped by FC Barcelona’s financial struggles.
Asked for his take on Arsenal missing out on Mudryk, Merson told Sky Sports: “They will be very disappointed, of course they will.
“They have been chasing him for a couple of weeks, it’s all been Arsenal talk, will they pay enough, will they go a little bit more. Then Chelsea have come from absolutely nowhere and blown Arsenal out of the water and that is what it is like.
“Now they have got to regroup again. Surely they will have had a couple of other players in the pipeline, surely they haven’t put all their eggs into one basket.
“I think they might go for Raphinha at Barcelona. Barcelona have still got to settle their books.”
Raphinha – who only joined the Spanish club from Leeds United in the summer – has scored two goals and made two assists in 15 La Liga appearances so far this season.
Meanwhile, Mikel Arteta reserved special praise for Arsenal midfielder Martin Odegaard after the Norwegian helped to fire the Gunners to victory at Spurs.
The 24-year-old netted Arsenal’s second goal in the 36th minute at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with an accurate low strike, after Hugo Lloris’ own-goal had earlier put the Gunners in front.
Odegaard has now scored eight goals and made five assists in 17 Premier League appearances this season and his form has been one of the driving forces behind the Gunners’ title push.
And Arteta, whose side are now eight points clear at the top, praised Odegaard for his display on Sunday.
Asked to rate Odegaard’s performance against Spurs, Arteta told his post-match news conference: “Terrific. Especially in the first half, I think he was incredible.
“He’s really showing a different kind of presence, the way he’s influencing the game, just the feeling, the way he moves, what he transmits on the pitch is different and today to do what he’s done here, it’s a big credit to him.”