Arsenal are keeping tabs on Barcelona star Rafinha - An underrated star?
BILBAO, SPAIN - AUGUST 16: Rafinha Alcantara of FC Barcelona looks on during the Liga match between Athletic Club and FC Barcelona at San Mames Stadium on August 16, 2019 in Bilbao, Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

According to Mundo Deportivo, as cited by Daily Star, Arsenal are keeping tabs on Barcelona star Rafinha. The midfielder faces an uncertain future at the club despite making an impression at Celta Vigo. The Spanish outfit apparently has an option to sign Rafinha permanently for just £14.3 million. However, Arsenal are ready to pounce should Celta fail or refuse to exercise that option.

Rafinha’s revival at Celta Vigo

A product of La Masia youth academy in Barcelona, Rafinha has been a part of the senior side since 2013. However, he has been unfortunate with lack of game-time, having made only 90 competitive appearances. And following the arrival of Frenkie de Jong, he was finally shipped out to Celta Vigo in a season-long loan deal last summer.

After a relatively slow start to the campaign, Rafinha has now become a key component in Celta’s midfield unit. He has already made 19 appearances, being involved in three goals.

The Brazillian has impressed the onlookers with his tenacious nature, having attempted four tackles per game so far. Also, he has averaged 1.4 interceptions as well as 2.1 successful dribbles per game. He has also attained a pass completion rate of 86%, which is quite impressive, given Celta’s style of play.

What can he offer to the table?

Unlike his brother, Rafinha is more of a utility player, who primarily likes to play in central midfield. But, he can also feature in a more advanced role, including the wide attacking slots. His neat footwork, combined with his technical prowess makes him an excellent ball-carrier.

Arsenal are keeping tabs on Barcelona star Rafinha - He has enjoyed a decent loan spell at Celta
Celta Vigo’s Brazilian midfielder Rafinha bends over during the Spanish league football match between RC Celta de Vigo and Sevilla FC at the Balaidos stadium in Vigo on February 9, 2020. (Photo by MIGUEL RIOPA / AFP) (Photo by MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, the Barcelona star is quiet tenacious too, often looking to close down the opposition. However, it is his versatility that makes him such a sought-after midfielder in Spanish football.

Arsenal are keeping tabs on Barcelona star Rafinha: An ideal signing for the Gunners?

Rafinha will be an excellent coup for Arsenal, who are preparing for life without Dani Ceballos next season. The Barcelona star could certainly replace his Real Madrid counterpart in central midfield, thanks to his technical prowess and ball-carrying qualities.

Moreover, the 27-year-old can provide Mikel Arteta with additional tactical options at his disposal, as he can feature in the wide-attacking roles as well. Not to mention, he has a significant amount of experience at the highest level of football, which should help him integrate quickly to the fast-paced nature of the Premier League.

But perhaps more importantly, Rafinha’s considerably cheap valuation makes him a cost-effective option in Arsenal’s bid to reinforce their creative unit next season.

Stat courtesy: Whoscored

Jack O’Brien

A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.