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Barcelona Transfer News: Rafinha Allowed to Leave Amid Inter Milan Rumours

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistJanuary 20, 2018

Rafinha of FC Barcelonaduring the UEFA Champions League round of 16 match between FC Barcelona and Paris Saint Germain on March 08, 2017 at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain.(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
VI-Images/Getty Images

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has confirmed that midfielder Rafinha will be allowed to leave the club amid ongoing links to Inter Milan.

The Blaugrana boss said on Saturday that, following recent transfer moves from Barca—notably the €160 million deal to sign Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool—Rafinha will be allowed to leave so he can get more game time, per Chris Burton of Goal: "He won't be at the training session today as he has permission from the club to sort his situation. I spoke to him about his injury and my opinion was that he needs to play minutes and in Barcelona it would be complicated after our last market movements."

Goal's report added Italian giants Inter are set to sign him in the current transfer window, initially on loan.

Rafinha, 24, is a graduate of Barca's youth system and he has been with the club since 2006.

However, he has never been able to nail down a regular first-team spot since making his senior debut for the Catalans back in 2011.

Since his debut, the Brazilian has regularly suffered from fitness problems, and he has also always faced fierce competition for a starting spot in Barca's midfield ranks.

Per Barca, his appearance from the bench in the Copa del Rey defeat to Espanyol on Wednesday was his first since April, when he injured his right knee against Granada and then had to undergo surgery.

FC Barcelona 🏆🏆 @FCBarcelona

👏 @Rafinha is back in action after 290 days out! 👏 Welcome back, Rafinha! 💪 🔵🔴 #CopaBarça https://t.co/zMWazBVXn5

Rafinha has not, though, returned to an environment where he will be afforded the game time to get match fit and compete for a first-team spot.

Coutinho is now just another midfielder he would have to compete with for a starting place were he to stay at the Camp Nou.

With the 2018 FIFA World Cup on the horizon, Rafinha will need regular football in the second half of the 2017-18 campaign if he is to make the Brazil squad for the summer tournament in Russia.

Valverde and Barcelona are clearly happy for him to depart the club in search of more regular action, and he has more than enough talent to be a huge asset at Inter if he re-finds his best form.

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