22-year-old Rafinha will miss the majority of the rest of the season due to ligament damage sustained to his knee, it has been revealed today.
According to Sky Sports, the Brazil international will be out for up to six months having undergone surgery on his right knee after injuring it against Roma in Barca’s drawn Champions League clash last week.
Having started every La Liga game as well as taking part in the UEFA Supercup win over Sevilla, in which he scored, Rafinha, in much the same vein as Manchester United’s Luke Shaw, has been struck down in what many would have seen as a breakthrough season for the young midfielder.
With Pedro having transferred to Chelsea over the summer, it also leaves manager Luis Enrique a little light in terms of midfield options.
Rumours of a move for Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho (appearing on talksport.com), who could be an ideal replacement for both Rafinha and Pedro, have accelerated with news that Neymar thinks his Brazilian counterpart would fit into Barcelona’s philosophy.
“I see many Brazilian players with quality today. But one I like and think could play here is Coutinho. He has the style of Barcelona,” Neymar is quoted by the BBC as saying.
Having just received word of a six-month layoff for one of their rising stars, Barca will need more time to ponder on their options but with their transfer ban being lifted at the end of the year, we may yet see some activity coming from Barcelona in the January window.
Sky Sports also report that the Catalan giants have asked the Spanish FA and FIFA ‘for special dispensation to allow them to play midfielder Arda Turan’ because of the lack of depth in midfield at present, particularly now with Rafinha’s serious injury.
Rob Lyons, Pundit Arena