There has been little question that Inter Milan want to keep the services of midfielder Rafinha on a permanent basis.
The Brazilian is currently on loan with the Nerazzurri from Barcelona.
The big issue, as it is with most transfers, is money.
Barcelona set the buy-out clause for Rafinha at €35 million, plus another €3 million in bonuses. However, with a bid to next season’s Champions League still very much in doubt, it is questionable whether Inter will be able to front that much cash.
Conversely, Mundo Deportivo in Spain reported that Inter is offering close to €20 million for the permanent move – considerably less than the €35 million the Blaugrana are asking.
There is no question that Barcelona is already loaded with talent. They have already clinched La Liga with the likes of Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic, Paulinho and Philippe Coutinho so it seems very unlikely that Rafinha would find a place on the roster next season.
So, logic would suggest that Barcelona would be more than interested to part ways, especially factoring in that Rafinha has publicly stated he loves playing for Inter.
“In such a short time, a feeling I cannot explain. Proud to form part of this team, more united than ever, we never stop believing in it,” Rafinha wrote on his post.
And the numbers don’t lie in terms of how Inter performs when he is in the line-up.
In the 13 matches played since his arrival, the Nerazzurri have just three losses. Rafinha has notched three assists, but his role as a trequartista has been just what Inter have needed. Coach Luciano Spalletti tried Borja Valero and Matias Vecino in that spot, but the results just weren’t there.
Rafinha’s field vision and ability to move the ball have only been matched by Joao Cancelo.
Perhaps the biggest question with Rafinha is his health. Prior to joining Inter he failed to suit up for any matches this season with Barcelona due to a meniscus injury. Spalletti has been careful not to overwork Rafinha, but his form would suggest he may be over that.
Another question will be if the transfer fee is negotiable. Barcelona likely doesn’t need Rafinha in any capacity next season, so keeping him on the payroll seems a waste.
Of course, they could find another team that would pay the price, but they would be hard-pressed to find one outside of England. Even then, it would be questionable if Rafinha would even fit in that team’s equation.
The one place he does fit is Inter. Provided Inter keeps Spalletti for next season, Rafinha would likely have a place as well as a starting role. He would also get European football as the Nerazzurri have at least qualified for the Europa League.
Now, it just comes down to money. We can’t bank on the Champions League because there is nothing definite about it. If it happens, we are good. If not, that could change the complexity of finances the team will have at its disposal for spending this summer.
Tack on the fact that Inter is also keen on keeping Cancelo, but a swap with Valencia for Geoffrey Kondogbia could remedy that.
The only other transfers on the roster currently is Lisandro Lopez, who has barely seen the field since joining from Benfica. It is likely Lopez will return to Portugal when the season is over. Yann Karamoh is on loan from Caen, but he has also found a spot on the team and is likely to stay. Other potential signees this summer: Stefan de Vrij and Kwadwo Asamoah would join the Nerazzurri basically for free since their contracts will have expired.
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