Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Arsenal Linked With A Move For This Barcelona Midfielder: Should Wenger Go Ahead?

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Subhayan Dutta
Subhayan used to be the Featured Columnist at The 4th Official. Completely immersed in football and almost all other sports on planet.

Arsenal have reportedly been offered Barcelona’s Rafinha as the Catalans are looking to offload some of the flops from their nightmarish campaign last season. And the 24-year-old midfielder remains among the unimpressive lot for sure owing to his underwhelming displays last season.

The Gunners have been linked with the Brazilian international previously but nothing could materialise then. Now, with new coach Ernesto Valverde at the helm, who is changing the approach, Rafinha could see his time at Barcelona end this summer itself. And while Barcelona’s decision to offer the player to Arsenal is not quite known, the North London definitely side has an interesting decision to make here.

Similar to Barcelona, Arsenal are also going through a transition stage at the moment with the club willing to let go numerous players this summer in order to clear out the wage pressure from the club treasury. And Arsene Wenger’s new-found success in a three-man formation also remains a crucial reason behind the exodus.

The Gunners had almost fallen out of the top four positions last season when their old gaffer decided to experiment with the new formation. And while it did work to a large extent, it also brought with itself some casualties. The biggest of them has been the role of two attacking midfielders. While Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil did well in that position, wingers like Theo Walcott and Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain have either fallen to the bench or had to force change into a new position.

The summer transfer window has repeatedly linked the wide attacking duo away from the club and Rafinha’s arrival would surely be the end for any one of them. The Barcelona midfielder would definitely be apt for that role as well as that of the centre midfielder as and when needed.

He managed seven goals and two assists for Barcelona last season before a series of injuries forced him to miss a whopping 20 games from January to the end. Rafinha had started the season with a slight rib bruise, which was soon followed by Achilles Tendon, nasal problems, thigh problems and meniscus injury.

The younger brother of Bayern Munich player Thiago Alcantara, Rafinha has hardly been able to replicate him at any level. Breaking his way, the ranks of the La Masia academy in a breakneck speed, the Brazilian was touted by many to be the next big thing in La Liga as well as his country. However, since making his debut for Brazil in 2015, Rafinha could manage just two caps and a goal.

Barcelona are reportedly asking €30 million for Rafinha and the player hasn’t shied away from expressing his frustration owing to his uncertainty. When asked about it, Rafinha said: “My future is open and God only knows what will happen.”

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