Arsenal transfer target Raphinha has hit out at rumours linking him with a move to the Premier League in a significant blow for Mikel Arteta.
The Gunners are thought to be in the market for a right-sided winger this summer to help ease the burden on Bukayo Saka.
Raphinha had emerged as potential addition, with Barcelona needing to cut costs in order to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations.
The Spanish giants will need to raise almost £180 million through player sales, according to theDaily Mail, prompting Arsenal to take advantage.
The north London side narrowly missed out on signing the Brazilian from Leeds last summer, but are allegedly planning to reignite their pursuit.
Meanwhile, Spanish news outletDiario Sportclaim that Newcastle have already made contact with Barca over a potential deal.
However, as far as Raphinha is concerned, the rumours hold little water.
What did he say?
Addressing the speculation surrounding his future, Raphinha said (quotes viaFootball365): “Fake news. Whoever shared that news is not well informed [and] not professional.”
Despite a slow start to life in Spain, Raphinha has shown glimpses of quality this season and seems to be a key part of Xavi’s plans moving forward.
The 26-year-old has scored 10 goals and provided a further 11 assists in all competitions this term.
“He has been good. Not only for his goals, but also with his defensive work,” Xavi said back in February. “He’s a [highly] criticised player. But he does a lot and we value him a lot.
“We will always support Raphinha. He is the future of Barcelona.”
Raphinha is even more likely to stay at the Camp Nou after reports suggested Lionel Messi would move to Saudia Arabia at the end of the season.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner confirmed he would leave Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the campaign, with a historic reunion with Barcelona on the cards.
But with that move having fallen by the wayside, Raphinha looks destined to retain his place in the team.