Luis Enrique has been confirmed as Barcelona’s new manager and he’ll already be working on how to improve the shape and fortunes of his side next season.
One decision he could make is to introduce some younger blood into the first team and potentially offer a chance to a 21-year-old who has just played 32 games for him while on loan at Celta Vigo.
Rafinha is one of the most highly regarded youngsters on Barca’s books and a player who could help Arsenal and Liverpool sign two top players this summer.
Rafinha is an extremely versatile attacking midfielder who played in different positions for Enrique in Celta Vigo’s midfield last season.
His main position is slightly to one side of a main central midfielder, in the sort of role that Cesc Fabregas currently plays for the Barca first team.
However, he’s also got enough pace and skill on the ball to be able to play out wide on either flank which gives Enrique different options to Neymar and Alexis Sanchez on either side.
He only scored four goals during his season with Celta Vigo but he looks a top quality player and someone who could have left a lasting impression on the mind of Barcelona’s new boss.
The idea that he is a replacement for Fabregas (linked with a return to Arsenal) or Sanchez (linked with a switch to Anfield) heading into next season is naïve but if he continues his progression and development, things could be different at the end of next season.
Enrique is a boss who seems determined to trust youngsters with the pressure and responsibility of top flight football in Spain and Rafinha can be confident that he’ll get a chance at some point during next season.
If he blossoms into the sort of consistent, top quality performer that his potential suggests he can become, then he gives Fabregas and Sanchez problems in terms of their long term ambition at the Nou Camp.
We won’t know more until Enrique throws him into the first team but 32 appearances at Celta Vigo last season suggests he could be mixing it with the likes of Neymar, Xavi and Andres Iniesta sooner rather than later.