Arsenal join Rafinha race

Arsenal have joined Inter and Celta Vigo in the race to sign Barcelona midfielder Rafinha Alcantara on a loan deal, say reports in Spain.

Diario Sport cites a report in Catalunya Radio which claims the Gunners – who are reportedly selling Francis Coquelin to Valencia – have registered an interest in Rafinha.

The 24-year-old played for Celta in the 2013-14 season under Luis Enrique, but reports stated the Milanese giants were the favourites for his signature.

However, it is claimed the midfielder is willing to return to Estadio Balaidos to play under Juan Carlos Unzue – Enrique’s previous assistant at both Barca and Celta.

The Brazilian damaged his knee ligaments in last season’s 4-1 victory at Granada in early April and has not featured for the Catalan giants since.

In December he returned to first-team training although the midfielder – who scored seven goals in 28 appearances last season – may find playing opportunities limited.

First-team chances will be limited further following the arrival of Paulinho over summer alongside the form of Ivan Rakitic, while Philippe Coutinho has now also joined.

Rafinha – whose brother Thiago plays for Bayern Munich and Spain – has ‘a dream’ to play in the World Cup next summer and is said to be trusted by Brazil Coach Tite, but no regular football could jeopardise his place in the squad.

Tags Arsenal Rafinha Alcantara
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