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Arsenal are currently in agony following a 3-0 friendly defeat against rivals Chelsea and are frustrated over the future of Alexis Sanchez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mesut Ozil. Ozil, however, is reportedly close to agreeing a new contract extension, but the other two are determined not to extend their stay beyond next summer. Sanchez, who netted 30 times last season, wants to attain greater glory and Champions League success which the Gunners could not afford after failing to grab a ‘top four’ finish for the first time in two decades.
The Gunners, nevertheless, are determined to fight back next season and re-establish their ‘top four’ status. They have concluded a couple of major deals in form of former Schalke 04 left-back Sead Kolasinac who joined the North Londoners on a Bosman transfer and also French hitman Alexandre Lacazette for a club-record fee following his persistent scoring record with French outfit Olympic Lyon. Wenger is now eyeing a central midfielder who can partner Granit Xhaka in the long run and as per reports, Barcelona star Rafinha has been offered to Arsenal for a fee around £27million.
Rafinha, 24, has been capped twice by Brazil at senior level and wants regular first-team experience prior to the upcoming FIFA World Cup. He has progressed through Barcelona’s La Masia academy and broke into the senior side in the 2014-15 season following an impressive loan spell with La Liga counterparts Celta Vigo. His development, however, suffered a major setback when he went through an unfortunate ACL injury and missed the majority of the 2015-16 campaign. Despite getting back to his full fitness last year, Rafinha found himself down the pecking order behind Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic and Andres Iniesta. Also, the presence of Sergi Roberto, Andre Gomes and Denis Suarez furthered jeopardized his place and the Brazilian is now considering his options prior to the forthcoming season.
He was quoted by Sky Sports,
“My future is open and only God knows what will happen. I am a Barcelona player and the most important thing now is to recover from my knee injury and then you will see what happens. All I can say is that everything is open.”
Although he struggled to get enough first-team minutes, Rafinha impressed in the limited opportunities last term as he netted 6 and assisted twice in 18 league appearances. He is known for his high work ethics, defensive contribution, ability to hold the ball in midfield, strong passing and dribbling skills along with versatility that suits Wenger’s style of football. The two-time La Liga and 2014-15 UEFA Champions League winner is capable of playing as a deep-lying playmaker, as a right winger and also as an attacking midfielder. Rafinha, for less than £30m, will be a shrewd business by the Gunners and a step in right direction to script a resurgence.