Chelsea agree £55m Raphinha deal in blow to Arsenal


 Raphinha of Leeds celebrates scoring the opening goal from the penalty spot during the Premier League match between Brentford and Leeds United at Brentford Community Stadium on May 22, 2022 in Brentford, United Kingdom. 

Chelsea are on the brink of clinching a £55m (€63m) deal to sign Raphinha from Leeds United and landing a significant blow on London rivals Arsenal.

The Blues have settled on a fee with Leeds, plus add-ons, and must now just agree personal terms with the player, which is not expected to be an issue. With the deal expected to go through, Chelsea are aiming to add Raphinha to a £105m (€121m) new-look attack with Raheem Sterling.

Chelsea have opened talks with Sterling and Manchester City about a move to Stamford Bridge, but want another attacking player to boost head coach Thomas Tuchel’s squad.

There had been interest in Ousmane Dembele, who is due to make a decision on his Barcelona future, and Everton’s Richarlison, who Tottenham Hotspur are in talks to sign.

But Raphinha had emerged as the forward player set to move to Stamford Bridge along with Sterling, with Tuchel personally driving the move for the player and sources believing an agreement is extremely close.

The Gunners’ first bid last week was rejected and Chelsea have now jumped ahead of Mikel Arteta’s club for the 25-year-old, whose agent is the former midfielder Deco, who played for Chelsea for two years. Given a deal for Sterling is likely to be worth at least £50m, signing Raphinha for £55m would mean Chelsea spending £105m to effectively replace Romelu Lukaku, whose move to Inter Milan should be confirmed today.

Raphinha scored 11 goals and registered three assists for Leeds last season as the club narrowly avoided relegation from the Premier League.

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