Barca Could Use Outcast Rafinha in Coutinho Deal But Arsenal & Italian Rivals Also Interested
Rafinha - the brother of Bayern Munich star Thiago Alcántara - is set to be used as a makeweight this summer as Barcelona look to make room for Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho.
It is believed that Rafinha was offered to Arsenal for £27m earlier in the transfer window. However, the north London side are yet to make a move.
The stalling from Arsène Wenger has allowed their rivals Tottenham, as well as Liverpool, join the race for his signature, according to Mundo Deportivo reports. Should Coutinho swap the Premier League for Catalonia, Jürgen Klopp can use Rafinha as a direct replacement for their talismanic midfielder.
Rejuvenated Inter and AC Milan are also monitoring the 24-year-old Brazilian, who is under contract at the Camp Nou until 2020.
Having featured for the Spanish Under-16, Under-17 and Under-19 sides with his Bavarian-based brother, Rafinha has chosen to represent Brazil at the senior national level having been born in São Paulo.
Kolasinac, Rafinha, Lemar & Lacazette would be a very good Window for Arsenal, they keep Sanchez turns into a quality window, all without CL— Havs (@Havs95) July 21, 2017
Rafinha is primarily a central midfielder, although he can also be deployed on the right-hand side of the midfield, or even as a wing back. If a move to north London is on the cards, the Brazilian would offer a more technically and physically well-rounded player to the options available to Wenger and Mauricio Pochettino.
Klopp could deploy Rafinha as a direct replacement for Coutinho should he leave. However, he also offers alternatives to Jordan Henderson and Emre Can in the heart of midfield.
In Milan, the signings of Lucas Biglia, Franck Kessié and Hakan Calhanoglu make a starting space unlikely in Vincenzo Montella's AC Milan side. For Luciano Spalletti at Inter, a starting spot could be more easily available.
At 32, new signing Borja Valero is unlikely to feature every week and with the uncertainty around the future of Marcelo Brozovic, Rafinha can offer top level competition to the likes of Geoffrey Kondogbia and Roberto Gagliardini.