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Saturday 18. March 2017 - 11:49

Real Madrid eye shock summer swoop for Rafinha; Arsenal interested as well

Real Madrid are reportedly eyeing a shock summer swoop to bring Barcelona midfielder Rafinha to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Spanish outlet Don Balon have reported that Real Madrid are lining up a shock move for Rafinha Alcantara, who plays for arch rivals Barcelona. The likes of Arsenal, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund are also showing an interest to sign the Br azilian midfielder.

Rafinha came up through the ranks from Barcelona’s famous La Masia academy, having joined the Catalan club as a 13-year-old. He made a belated debut for the senior squad in 2014, after spending a season on loan at Celta Vigo, and has since become a regular in the first team squad under Luis Enrique.

However, 2016/17 has been a topsy-turvy season for the Br azilian international as he has been in and out of the side following the arrival of Denis Suarez and Andre Gomes, which has seen the Barcelona boss make constant rotations. Rafinha has managed just 12 starts in La Liga, still bagging six goals and two assists in his limited opportunities.

It is now believed that the lack of first team minutes could force Rafinha to move on from Camp Nou in search of regular action on the pitch. As a result, his father and agent, Mazinho, has alerted clubs of the 24-year-old’s situation at Barcelona, and is ready to listen to proposals.

Several clubs are said to be making a beeline for Rafinha’s signature now, but Real Madrid have raced to the front of queue, as per the report, in what will be a shock move. Los Blancos have, in fact, been eyeing him since his days at Celta Vigo, and are ready to pounce on his unsettled situation at Camp Nou.

Zinedine Zidane is said to be a huge admirer of Rafinha’s talents and the Real Madrid boss “sees him as a cheeky, daring player with technique, goal, dribble and a lot of push.”

Indeed, with the likes of Isco, who is being linked with a shock Barcelona move, and James Rodriguez set to leave Spanish capital in the summer, a place could open up within the Real Madrid first team squad, creating an ideal situation for Rafinha.

However, the La Liga leaders are set to face competition for Rafinha, with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger also keen on signing the 24-year-old. The likes of Francis Coquelin, Aaron Ramsey, Mohamed Elneny and Granit Xhaka have underperformed this season, and thus Wenger is eyeing a top quality midfield addition for the summer.

Meanwhile, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund are also reported to be interested in the mix, making it a four-horse race for the Barcelona midfielder. Rafinha still has more than 3 years left to run on his contract at Camp Nou, and has a €75 million release clause embedded in a deal.

It remains to be seen how things develop in the coming months, and if minutes are hard to come by we could well see Rafinha make a shock move to Barcelona’s arch rivals come June.

Provided by: Frank Henriksen
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