By George Overhill

23rd Jun, 2022 | 9:10pm

Leeds United left 'baffled' by Arsenal behaviour on Raphinha

Leeds United were left “baffled” by the amount Arsenal offered for star attacker Raphinha, according to Graham Smyth in the Yorkshire Evening Post.

The Gunners were the first side to make an official bid for the Brazilian star as intense interest around a transfer swelled within the Premier League, after Barcelona failed to take advantage of their position in the running.

But it was immediately rejected at Elland Road for apparently coming nowhere near the asking price of over £60million, with Smyth saying: “Arsenal’s opening bid for Raphinha was so low that Leeds chiefs were left baffled”.

In reaction Smyth railed against the attitudes shown by the European elite, and linked the failed Super League project of a year ago to the pursuit of the Whites’ winger, writing in the YEP: “It would not have taken a genius to predict that the very entitlement that raised its ugly head in April 2021 would be seen in a transfer window that threatens to take talent away from Elland Road.

“That it took 12 days of the window to show itself was the only surprise.”

On Arsenal’s bid he said: “To arrive at a situation where your opening gambit is not considered worthy of contemplation suggests a number of possibilities.

“Either Leeds are being wildly unrealistic in their valuation of Raphinha, a proven Premier League dangerman and starting winger for World Cup favourites Brazil, the Gunners are not serious about making him their player, or they felt they could pay what they liked to get what they wanted.”

He then compared it to behaviour from La Liga, writing: “The noises around Barcelona, a lot of which can only have come from those connected to the Camp Nou club given the sources that broadcast the noise, have held similar notes of entitlement.

“We like this player so we’ve gone ahead and agreed personal terms with his agent and we’ll throw Leeds £35m when we’re ready.”

Fair point

There certainly does seem to be an assumption of sorts among the interested parties that United are being awkward by expecting a top price for Raphinha.

But as an established Brazilian international they were never going to do anything different unless they were relegated.

It is a measure of his quality that so many top sides are after him, but he is a Leeds player and has two years left on his contract, so he will obviously cost.

They aren’t planning to unfairly stand in the way of his exit as long as a club stumps up the money, but after Barcelona essentially wasted everyone’s time, not least Raphinha’s, it doesn’t make sense that Arsenal would bother to make an offer low enough to actually confuse the recipients.

Guardian journalist Fabrizio Romano wrote in his Caught Offside column about how much Mikel Arteta “is really in love” with the player, so he should therefore be willing to meet the asking price.

An improved offer is thought to be incoming from the Emirates, but if it isn’t significantly higher then it would be fair to wonder what they are expecting to happen.

Despite weeks of manoeuvres around the player’s future there has so far been a grand total of one bid that came nowhere near being successful, so the next moves will be indicative of teams’ true intentions.

In other Leeds United news, the club are monitoring a highly-rated young prospect ahead of a potential move.