How Rafinha is stifling PSG’s Pogba hopes – and Barcelona’s transfer plans

Robin Bairner
‘PSG wanted Thiago but got Rafinha’

Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Rafinha could have a significant role to play in his club’s pursuit of Manchester United star Paul Pogba and in Barcelona’s summer transfer plans.

Twice capped Brazil international Rafinha only joined PSG last season, with the 28-year-old cut free by Barcelona after coming through the club’s academy.

He showed some promise with the Parisian side, featuring on 34 occasions overall and securing seven assists, but while he enjoyed a solid season, it was far from spectacular.

Rafinha did not, however, show a capacity to be decisive when his side required it. In the last nine league matches of the season he played, he failed to secure a single assist and went the duration of the campaign without a goal.

He was a started in the shock 2-1 home loss against Nantes and came off the bench in the 1-0 defeat to Lille as well as the 1-1 draw against Rennes. These were the results that cost PSG the title and Rafinha was powerless to stop them.

Meanwhile, PSG are amply stocked in the centre of the pitch. Leandro Paredes, Danilo Pereira, Idrissa Gueye, Marco Verratti and Ander Herrera were all vying for time last term, and Gini Wijnaldum has since been thrown into the mix.

And with Pogba touted as a possible arrival from Man Utd, Rafinha has been one of the players touted to be sacrificed. Milan, Lazio and Aston Villa have been linked with an interest.

However, Mundo Deportivo reports that will not happen.

Rafinha’s influence in Pogba deal

Man Utd boss Solskjaer has hinted at a new deal for Paul Pogba

PSG need to raise money and create space in their squad for Pogba. A €10 million deal for Rafinha would allow them to go some way to do both.

While this substantially decreases the chances of the Man Utd star arriving in Paris, it is a situation that Mauricio Pochettino is content with.

Rafinha, meanwhile, appreciates that his role is a squad player and is quite content with life in Paris and at PSG.

Why this effects Barcelona

For a Barcelona side that is chasing every cent they can get at present in a bid to secure a new contract for Lionel Messi, this presents a blow.

Although Barca allowed Rafinha to leave for free last summer, they inserted a 35% sell on clause into the deal. If PSG were able to raise a €10m fee for their player, it would therefore mean that the Catalans would recoup €3.5m – not a window-changing figure by any means, but a sum that would help ease their current headaches.