Juventus are reportedly plotting a summer swoop for Barcelona’s Brazilian midfielder Rafinha.
Spanish publication Sport have reported that Juventus are hot on the heels of Rafinha, with the Italian champions preparing an offer to sign the Brazilian midfielder from Barcelona in the summer transfer window.
Rafinha joined Barcelona’s fabled La Masia academy as a 13-year-old and progressed through the ranks in the youth setup before making his full first-team debut in 2014. Since then, he has become a regular fixture in the first-team squad.
However, Rafinha has struggled to be one of the first names on the team sheet at Camp Nou. With Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta often taking up two of the three slots at the heart of the Barcelona midfield, the Brazil international has had to compete with the likes of Ivan Rakitic, Andre Gomes and Denis Suarez.
Rafinha notched up just 28 competitive appearances across all competitions this season, before an unfortunate knee injury brought about a premature end to his campaign.
The player still has an impressive tally of 7 goals and 5 assists to show for his efforts, and he reportedly believes that his efforts would be better served playing regular first-team football elsewhere.
The Bianconeri have seen Miralem Pjanic settle in quickly at the Juventus Stadium following his switch from AS Roma last summer. But, with Sami Khedira and Claudio Marchisio being injury prone, the Bosnian has not had a regular partner in the centre of the park.
Additionally, several reports in Italy have speculated that Khedira could leave Juventus in the summer to seek pastures anew. Massimiliano Allegri has been scouting top quality midfielders to slot in alongside Pjanic, and his search has led him to Rafinha.
The report suggests that Juventus have an offer on the table for the player, but will have to shell out a transfer fee in the region of €30-40 million. Sport also claim that the Italian champions will face competition from Premier League clubs – Arsenal and Liverpool have previously been linked with Rafinha.
Rafinha’s father, Mazinho, however, is adamant that the player will not be leaving Barcelona and is ready to fight for his spot next season. It now remains to be seen if Juventus – or any other club – can manage to persuade the Brazilian to move away from Camp Nou for a new challenge in the summer.