Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Arsenal Rekindle Their Interest In Barcelona Outcast: Good Fit For Arsene Wenger?

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Aakarsh Bommakanti
Was diving around lush green grass not so long ago but my keyboard is all I have now. An avid observer of detail in sports with a passion to make myself heard. Can find me playing on a field if not in front of my screen.

January has not generally been a kind month for English outfit Arsenal and this year has been no different. While they are struggling to break into the top-4, Arsene Wenger’s side could lose their talisman in Alexis Sanchez this month. They are also hit with injuries, with the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Mesut Ozil, all out for at least another couple of weeks.

Wenger is also keen on selling midfielder Francis Coquelin to Valencia, leaving him with an urgent need of a midfield. And one player the manager has his eyes on is Barcelona outcast Rafinha Alacantra.

The Brazilian midfielder recently came back from a lengthy meniscus injury but is struggling to break into the first team under new manager Ernesto Valverde this season. He is yet to feature for the club this season and Barcelona are reportedly ready to let him leave on loan, with an option to make it permanent in the summer.

The Catalan giants could accept a bid of around €20m and Arsenal are one of many clubs monitoring his situation. It is reported that Italian giants Inter Milan are leading the race for his signature while Spanish outfit Celta Vigo are also in the race. But is he a good option for the Gunners?

A versatile midfielder, who works his socks off, Rafinha is a disciplined player who sticks to the basics. He has decent touch and skill to go with an intelligent understanding of the game and is an effective player, playing as a bridge between the two ends of the field.

He is a decent dribbler but his biggest strengths lie in breaking up play and finding runners beyond him with precision. He is adept at hold up play and can create chances consistently but can also sit back and shut shop when needed. He is a complete midfielder, who can walk into most top teams in Europe and is only struggling at Camp Nou, due to the quality in the squad.

He has a total of 80 La Liga appearances and will want to find regular game time elsewhere, to add to just his two international caps for Brazil. He is an established midfielder and suits Wenger’s style of play pretty well.

With Granit Xhaka cementing his place as the robust midfielder in a 4-2-3-1 system, Wenger has not been able to field a player consistently alongside him in the middle of the park. While Aaron Ramsey was effective, he has left the club with a lot to desire and Jack Wilshere still does not seem trustworthy.

Rafinha can not only take up this role but can also play in any of the three roles behind the striker and this versatility of his will solve more than one problem at the club. He is not the star name Arsenal fans will want but is definitely a player who will improve the squad at the Emirates.

But do you think Arsenal should go all in for his services?

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