Xavi Hernandez denies Barcelona sale rumours for Raphinha

Xavi Hernandez has denied that Barcelona will sell 26-year-old Brazilian international Raphinha, a target for Arsenal, this summer.

As quoted by 90min, Xavi Hernandez has commented on widespread reports linking Raphinha with a summer departure. And the Barcelona manager has ruled out a sale of the 26-year-old. The player is a target for Arsenal heading into the summer transfer window.

Xavi said, “Raphinha is not on the market. He’s staying at Barcelona and will help us a lot. He’s a crucial player for me and a really important player. He makes the difference.”

Raphinha was on top of the world last summer as Barcelona signed him in a deal worth €58 million. The Brazilian international snubbed interest from Arsenal and Chelsea to complete his dream move. But he experienced some teething problems, which oddly came midway through the campaign.

However, the 26-year-old gradually stepped up his performance levels, especially during Ousmane Dembele’s injury-enforced absence. And the player contributed to 22 goals (ten strikes, 12 assists) this season in 50 outings. But Raphinha’s Barcelona future is uncertain amid the Catalan club’s eagerness to re-sign Lionel Messi. And such a situation has alerted Arsenal.

Arsenal will head into the market in the summer transfer window to make clever tweaks to the first-team squad. The Gunners have shown that they have the level to contest for the Premier League title. They now need to add a few more players to the group to become a more well-rounded unit.

Signing a right-winger, in particular, is a priority for Arsenal, despite Bukayo Saka’s progress. That is because Mikel Arteta does not have a viable alternative to the English international in his squad. And Raphinha’s name ranks high on the list of Arsenal’s targets for the summer transfer window.

But with Xavi Hernandez revealing that Barcelona will not offload the Brazilian attacker, a summer deal is unlikely. In addition, Messi is reportedly closing in on moving to Saudi Arabia instead of rejoining Barcelona. So there is no need to cash in on Raphinha in the summer transfer window.

The player himself has been uninterested in leaving Barcelona this summer. So Arsenal will have to look elsewhere to bolster the first-team squad ahead of the 2023/24 season. And it will be interesting to see who becomes Saka’s alternative on the right flank next term.

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