Arsenal technical director Edu has been discussing how close the club came to winning the race for Raphinha, with the Brazil international having completed a summer transfer from Leeds to Barcelona. The Gunners were very much part of that race at one stage, but a talented forward ultimately ended up at Camp Nou.
Emirates Stadium was never a landing spot that was given much thought, with the 25-year-old and his representatives making it clear from the start of a long-running saga that his preferred option was to leave the Premier League for La Liga heavyweights.
How close did Arsenal come to signing Raphinha?
GOAL was able to confirm back in May that Raphinha had agreed personal terms with Barcelona, but Arsenal entered the fray in June as they identified a domestic rival as a potential replacement for Nicolas Pepe.
A €65 million (£55m/$66m) switch to Catalunya was eventually confirmed in mid-July, with Edu telling Sky Sports when asked if the Gunners were ever serious contenders for a much sought-after signature: “People think we went in too deep about Raphinha, because Raphinha was everywhere.
“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.”
Will Arsenal make more signings this summer?
While the Gunners were unable to land Raphinha, they have been busy bolstering their ranks in the summer transfer window.
Gabriel Jesus, Fabio Vieira, Matt Turner, Marquinhos and Oleksandr Zinchenko have all been added to Mikel Arteta’s squad, with Edu admitting that there may be more movement in and out of north London before the next deadline passes.
He said when quizzed on further activity for top-four hopefuls: “I think we have to be prepared for every situation. We still feel the transfer window is open and the most important thing is to be prepared for everything, every scenario, because opportunities can happen.
“Clubs can approach us, players probably want to go on loan, so there's still lots to do, but again, being prepared for me is the most important [thing] and for sure we are very much prepared for almost everything.”