Barcelona have finally gotten rid of Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian international will join Bayern Munich on a season-long loan deal with an option to buy – the club confirmed. This is a massive step towards the potential signing for Neymar. But, at the same time, Barcelona will first need to resolve the future of one of their existing stars in Rafinha.
Rafinha’s career so far
A product of the La Masia youth academy, Rafinha was initially promoted to the first-team way back in the 2013/14 campaign. He was, however, loaned out to Celta Vigo, where he went onto make 32 league appearances, scoring four goals and registering seven assists.
Rafinha’s impressive performances at Celta earned him a bit-part role at Barcelona during the 2014/15 campaign. But, the Brazilian struggled to make an impact, mustering just over 1,100 minutes of league football. He never really had the opportunity to make a breakthrough since, though he did spend a short loan spell at Inter earlier this year.
The 26-year-old made 17 league appearances with the Nerazurris, ultimately returning to Barcelona this summer. His current contract in Catalonia expires at the end of this season, which means Barca are in danger of losing him for free if they fail to offload the midfielder this summer.
What does he provide to the table?
A central midfielder by trade, Rafinha is a slightly more attack-minded when compared to his brother Thiago Alcantara of Bayern Munich. Versatility is one of his most significant traits as he can feature as an attacking midfielder as well as a wide playmaker.
Aside from that, the 26-year-old is blessed with immense technical quality that allows him to link-up with teammates. This is coupled with his quick football and exquisite control over the ball – making him an excellent ball-carrier, especially in half-spaces.
Should Barcelona keep hold of Rafinha?
Following the departure of Coutinho, Barcelona will need a bit of depth in the creative department. This is applicable especially with Lionel Messi out injured. Rafinha, in that regard, might turn out to be a handy player for Valverde.
In fact, the Spaniard utilised the central midfielder as a substitute for Carles Alena in the defeat to Athletic Bilbao last night. And he didn’t disappoint either, ending the match as one of Barcelona’s top players despite the loss.
Therefore, keeping hold of Rafinha might make a world of sense for the Spanish champions. The Brazilian’s technique and skills, coupled with his versatility, will add to the excellent depth that will be pivotal in their bid to retain their dominance over Spanish football this season.
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