By George Overhill

20th Jun, 2022 | 10:40pm

Leeds United star Raphinha's agent Deco in London amid Arsenal transfer speculation

Deco was in London on Monday amid increasing speculation that Arsenal are to make a move for Leeds United star Raphinha, journalist Freddie Paxton reports.

After weeks of assumptions that Barcelona were ultimately going to land the Whites winger there was an explosion of reports on Monday (20 June) that the Gunners were taking advantage of the lack of progress.

Goal Spain suggested the Brazilian had become impatient with waiting for the Catalans and was “very close” to signing at the Emirates, but while that appears to have been premature it does seem that there is activity imminent.

The Times reported later in the day that although United were still yet to receive bids from anyone for the 25-year-old they expected the first one to soon come from Arsenal.

Relevo in Spain also said the London side were making a push to land the Brazil international after the relationship between Leeds and Barcelona had turned “cold”, and had even given them an asking price starting with a £47million up-front fee.

Then Paxton, who has written for the Guardian, Independent and Times, wrote on his personal Twitter account: “Reliably informed that Deco – the agent of Raphinha – has been in London today, as talks of a move to Arsenal heat up.”

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Smoke and fire?

Deco has arguably been a more central figure to the ongoing transfer saga than Raphinha himself, as his close ties to the Camp Nou appeared to be firmly steering things in that direction.

Sport in Spain even reported on Sunday (19 June) that without him the Whites star would “already have signed” for either Liverpool or Chelsea.

The Portuguese former Barcelona player had apparently given his word to Joan Laporta and Mateu Alemany, so if even he has had enough of waiting then it is a bad sign for the Catalan giants.

Whether Arsenal have a genuine chance of landing Raphinha is somewhat doubtful, as it would surely make more sense to go to Chelsea if their reported interest is as strong.

A number of attacking names at Stamford Bridge could be on the way out, including Timo Werner, Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech, as well as obviously Romelu Lukaku, which would leave a clear space for him to fit into, as well as Champions League football.

But officials at Elland Road can only react to the bids they receive so that would put the Gunners ahead in one key aspect.

They would surely rather he wasn’t on the opposition side during league games but without an offer actually materialising from the Camp Nou there isn’t much they can do.

However, if a move that the player wants doesn’t present itself for a fee that the club deems acceptable then surely staying, at least until after the World Cup this winter, becomes the most sensible option.

In other Leeds United news, the club have lined up a replacement if they lose their star man and they are unlikely to have to pay his release clause.