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Edu: Arsenal signed top targets despite UCL absence

Edu is pleased that despite not playing in the Champions League the previous season, Arsenal was still able to secure top transfer targets Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Raphinha, currently a winger for Barcelona, never came close to transferring to the Emirates Stadium, according to the club’s technical director. Raphinha has always prioritized a move to Camp Nou.

After a late-season collapse cost them a top-four Premier League finish in May, rivals Tottenham have been busy in the summer market, outspending every other team in the top division thus far.

Along with former Manchester City teammates Jesus and Zinchenko, Mikel Arteta’s team has also signed Fabio Vieira of Porto, Matt Turner of the New England Revolution, and Marquinhos, a young winger for Sao Paulo.

According to Edu, Arsenal’s lack of Champions League football hasn’t been a major obstacle in luring their top targets.

He told Sky Sports:

“[We signed] almost 100 per cent of them.

“I understand sometimes players want to play Champions League football, but I think we can offer something very special for the players as well.

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

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Edu: Arsenal signed top targets despite UCL absence

“I’m sure we will do something very special for this football club, and then when I explain to the players, they 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 with the signing of the Ukraine star after targeting him for six months.

He added:

“We are so excited to have Zinchenko with us here because he’s a player that we targeted.

“It’s a player that we believe has the characteristics and qualities that will surely increase our level in the squad. [The transfer] was planned six months ago to feed that position in the best way possible in the way that Mikel really wants to play.

“Mikel of course knows him more than anyone because they worked together [at City] but all the information around the player is top.”

Edu also revealed the signing of Jesus was the culmination of another drawn-out process, adding:

“I think we as a club have to be proud to have a player like Gabriel Jesus here.

“This process really, I think, takes like seven months in terms of understanding each other and talking to each other, because also he had a lot of other opportunities and then he chooses because he understands who we are.”

Raphinha, who scored 11 goals in 35 Premier League games for Leeds United last season, was another player that was connected to Arsenal.

Although Arsenal did talk to the winger’s agency Deco, Edu stated that the player had his heart set on a transfer to Camp Nou before he completed a high-profile move to Barcelona earlier this month.

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Edu: Arsenal signed top targets despite UCL absence

Edu said:

“People think we went in too deep about Raphinha, because Raphinha was everywhere.

“It’s fair, we did have some conversations with Deco because Deco is his agent and I have a good relationship [with him] – we are friends.

“I just said to Deco, ‘can you explain to me the situation with Raphinha?’ and he was clear, ‘Edu, we have a good relationship but I’m not going to lie to you, his idea is to go to Barcelona because he’s dreaming to go to Barcelona, and we’ve been talking to Barcelona since a long time ago’.

“[I said] ‘okay, thank you very much, if something happens then just let me know because I can explore and understand the situation’. If not, no problem and we carry on with our relationship.”

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