Edu: Arsenal signed top targets despite Champions League absence, Raphinha only wanted Barcelona move


Edu is delighted that Arsenal managed to sign first-choice transfer targets Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko despite missing out on Champions League football last term.

However, the club’s technical director also revealed that Raphinha was never close to a move to the Emirates Stadium, with the now Barcelona winger always favoring a move to Camp Nou.

Arsenal have been active in the transfer market following the end-of-season collapse of rivals Tottenham, who secured a Premier League top-four finish at their own expense in May, far outstripping all other teams in the top flight.

Alongside former Manchester City duo Jesus and Zinchenko, Mikel Arteta’s side have recruited Fabio Vieira from Porto, New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner and young Sao Paulo winger Marquinhos, and Edu revealed that Arsenal’s lack of Champions League football has not been too inhibiting in securing their forward positions. goals.

“[We’ve signed] almost 100 per cent of them,” he told Sky Sports. “I understand that sometimes the players want to play Champions League football, but I think we can offer the players something very special.

“It’s not just the Champions League, but you can be part of a group of players who can achieve something very special for this football club. And then I always ask them if they want to be part of the project we’re building.”

“I’m sure we’re going to do something very special for this football club and then when I explain it to the players, they’ll really understand [it] and that’s why they’re here.”

Zinchenko made just 10 Premier League starts for City last season, playing a total of 1,044 minutes in the competition, but Edu is delighted to sign the Ukrainian star after six months.

“We’re so excited to have Zinchenko here with us because he’s a player we’ve really focused on,” he added.

“He’s a player that we really believe has the characteristics and qualities that will definitely raise our level in the squad. [The transfer] was planned like six months ago to support the position as much as possible.” which Mikel really wants to play.

“Obviously Mikel knows him more than anyone because they worked together [at City], but all the information about the player is top notch.”

Edu also revealed that the signing of Jesus was the culmination of another drawn-out process, adding: “I think as a club we have to be proud to have a player like Gabriel Jesus.

“I think the process really takes seven months in terms of mutual understanding and conversations because he’s had a lot of other opportunities as well and then he chooses because he understands who we are.”

Raphinha has been another player linked with Arsenal after scoring 11 goals in 35 Premier League appearances for Leeds United last season.

However, he made a big-money move to Barcelona earlier this month and while Arsenal spoke to the winger’s agent Dec, Edu revealed his heart is set on a move to Camp Nou.

“People think we went too deep into Raphinha because Raphinha was everywhere,” Edu said. “It’s fair, we’ve had some conversations with Deco because Deco is his agent and I have a good relationship with him – we’re friends.

“I just said to Dec, ‘Can you explain the Raphinha situation?’ and he said clearly: ‘Ed, we have a good relationship, but I’m not going to lie to you, his idea is to go to Barcelona, ​​because he dreams of going to Barcelona, ​​and we’ve been talking with Barcelona for a long time. some time ago’.

“[I said] ‘okay, thank you very much, if anything happens let me know because I can investigate and understand the situation’. If not, no problem and we continue our relationship.”

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