Liverpool, Arsenal and Juventus are reportedly monitoring the situation of Barcelona star Rafinha Alcantara ahead of making a move to secure his services. Mundo Deportivo claims that the three European clubs have approached the Brazilian to express their interest in a potential transfer, although they are yet to make a formal offer.
Rafinha, 24, has been one of the latest starts to break through into the Barcelona first-team after coming through the prolific La Masia academy.
The versatile midfielder enjoyed an impressive spell on loan at Celta Vigo under Luis Enrique in the 2013-2014 campaign before returning to the Nou Camp in the summer of 2014 when the Spanish boss took over Gerard Martino.
Rafinha missed much of the last campaign due to an injury but he has still played an important role at Barcelona in recent seasons both as a starter or coming off the bench. In November 2015 Barcelona rewarded him with a new long-term deal until 2020, setting his buyout clause in €75m (£64.8m, $81m) in order to ward off potential suitors.
However, his future at the club has come under some scrutiny in recent weeks after Luis Enrique announced his decision to leave the Nou Camp once his contract expires at the end of the season.
Mundo Deportivo claims that Liverpool, Arsenal and Juventus are closely tracking the situation ahead of making a potential move in the summer if he becomes available.
— Mundo Deportivo (@mundodeportivo) March 24, 2017
Rafinha’s brother has already left Barcelona to join Bayern Munich and the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal could tempt him to make a similar move if the Catalans don’t guarantee him regular time.
Nevertheless, the competition for places at the Barcelona midfield are already huge and the Catalans are still planning to make a new high-profile addition in the summer, having been linked with the likes of Marco Verratti or Thiago himself.
Mundo Deportivo says that Liverpool, Arsenal and Juventus also value high Rafinha’s versatility as he has played both in the middle of the park and more recently in the right-wing following Luis Enrique’s switch to the 3-4-3 formation. Furthermore, the Brazilian has scored seven goals and provided five assists in his 27 appearances for Luis Enrique’s side this term.
Earlier in the season, Rafinha said that his dream was to succeed at Barcelona but he refused to rule out a move away in the near future should he fail to establish himself in Barcelona’s starting line-up.
“I want to continue at Barcelona but if I’m not given many minutes I’ll consider leaving because what I want is to play. But we will see,” Rafinha said during an interview with Catalunya Radio. “The best thing for a footballer, the normal thing, is to want to be on the pitch. If that’s not here, there’s nothing wrong in going out on loan. But I’ll do everything I can to play for Barcelona.”
“It is difficult to play regularly in a club like Barcelona because here we have the best players in the word,” he said. “I remembered that when I was promoted from the second team, and the club gave me the chance to move on loan I didn’t think twice. I wanted to play.”