David Ornstein of The Athletic reported on Tuesday evening that Chelsea were close to agreeing a fee for Raphinha, edging ahead of Arsenal in the race.
Ornstein’s report suggests a deal isn’t done yet, but it pretty much just comes down to whether or not Raphinha accepts the move.
Fabrizio Romano reports Arsenal had also made a verbal offer to Leeds on Tuesday, but it was rejected.
Barcelona held conversations with the Premier League club as well, but the finances are beyond them now.
Romano and the Daily Mail claim Leeds have actually accepted the latest £55m bid from Chelsea, with add-ons of around £5m. They only need to personal terms with Raphinha.
There are still very vague hopes that Arsenal could revive a deal.
Ben Jacobs reports that Raphinha hasn’t made a final decision yet, and Arsenal sources aren’t ruling out making another bid.
If Arsenal matched Chelsea’s offer, it would come down to the player’s preference. But that’s still going to be a tough negotiation.
Chelsea have Champions League football, and they’re probably better positioned to win trophies in the immediate future.
Arsenal’s proposal would need to rely on offering Raphinha a key squad role, and perhaps the chance to work with his Brazilian teammates Gabriel Jesus, Martinelli, and Magalhaes.
David Ornstein previously reported that there’s talk Thomas Tuchel might use Raphinha as a wing-back, whilst Arsenal would play him in his favoured position as a winger, so that’s another positive.
The reality is that none of that matters until the Gunners find an agreement with Leeds, and they’re quickly running out of time to do so.