Premier League giants Liverpool are reportedly eyeing a summer move for Barcelona midfielder Rafinha Alcantara.
According to Transfermarketweb, Liverpool will ask for the Brazilian international, who is also being monitored by Serie A side Inter Milan, to be included as a part of any possible deal which sees Philippe Coutinho go the other way in this summer’s transfer window.
A few days ago it was rumoured that the Rafinha was offered to Arsenal and that Barcelona were willing to listen to offers in the region of €30 million for the La Masia graduate. Juventus were also reported to be interested in the versatile midfielder, as were their rivals AS Roma.
Last season, the 24-year-old made 28 appearances across all competitions, before an injury to his meniscus ended his season prematurely in April. He started 18 of those games for Luis Enrique and finished his season with 7 goals and 5 assists to his name.
However, that hasn’t been enough for Rafinha, who has failed to establish himself in the first team squad and it was reported earlier in June that his agents had gotten in touch with arch rivals Real Madrid to offer his services to the club, which they in turn refused.
Despite enjoying his most productive season, Barcelona don’t seem too opposed at the idea of letting go of the Brazilian, who has 3 seasons left on his current contract. Primarily a central midfielder, he can be deployed almost anywhere in midfield and also on the wings.
The experience of playing in numerous positions throughout his career will certainly be something Klopp will appreciate, as he can also be deployed as a winger in case of injuries to Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane, or as an attacking midfielder to fill in for Adam Lallana or Wijnaldum.
While he is undoubtedly talented, he cannot be termed as a like-for-like replacement for Coutinho in terms of quality, who has by now established himself as one of the best wingers in the world. Last season was the best ever individual campaign, in which he scored 14 and assisted 9 in 36 appearances.
Since making his Barcelona debut in 2011, Rafinha has only made 78 senior appearances for the Blaugrana and it may be time for him to move on and find a club where he would get regular minutes. With the World Cup less than a year away, he cannot afford to have a season like the last one.
He is expected to return from injury by the end of August and should he move to Premier League, he will undoubtedly need time to settle into Klopp’s system and get used to the travails of the English game. But should the German get the best out of him, Liverpool would have a superb player on their hands.