Brazilian full-back Rafael has rejected transfer rumours linking him with a return to his homeland and insists he is happy at Old Trafford.
The start of Manchester United’s season has been somewhat overwhelming, with an argument to suggest that the injury to key defender Rafael potentially has had a role in the club’s misfortunes.
The Brazil international full-back’s future at Old Trafford was put into doubt recently, with speculation that the 23-year-old could be interested in a move back to South America.
Big-spending Corinthians were thought to be ready to spend considerably to bring Rafael back to Brazil, with the player’s motivations reportedly that he felt he would have more of a chance of getting into his national side as a result.
However, with United in need of key players to stand up and be counted, the defender has put an end to the speculation and dedicated his future to the club.
"I am not thinking about leaving Manchester United, especially since I did well last season," Rafael told Lancenet.
"There is no reason to leave now, I am playing here, I am a starter and I don't intend to return to Brazil."
Rafael’s hamstring injury in the Community Shield has left David Moyes with a dilemma on who to play at right-back in the Brazilian’s absence. The likes of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Antonio Valencia can all play there, but are better in other positions. They are stopgaps rather than viable competition for Rafael.
As a result, United’s questionable defence will surely improve as a result of Rafael’s return to fitness and the first team. He made his first appearance of the Premier League season against Sunderland at the weekend and Moyes will hope that the South American can get back to the impressive form that he displayed last term.
Rafael’s return is an essential part of the team’s quest to get back on track and he improves the side both at the back and in attack. His positional sense is better than any of his deputies, with his willingness to put a foot in, ability to track runners and increase in stature key, yet understated, parts of the United defence.
With the Old Trafford club’s wingers (apart from Adnan Januzaj apparently) struggling for form, Rafael’s inclusion back in the team will surely add an extra offensive threat from wide.
Despite the presence of key men such as Nemanja Vidic, Michael Carrick, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persue, Rafael’s importance to the United cause should not be overlooked. The confirmation of his commitment to the club and his return to fitness are considerable boosts for David Moyes.