Rafinha Alcantara was once again missing from the Barcelona squad for a friendly clash with Girona today as Ronald Koeman looks to push the reported Leeds United and Everton target out the door.
With doubts swirling around almost every single member of the Barca squad, their team-sheets tend to make for interesting reading these days.
And while Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele look set to become Koeman’s go-to strike force – if you must insist on those inane acronyms, how about MAD? – the absence of Luis Suarez and Arturo Vidal speaks volumes.
The cash-strapped Catalan giants are looking to get fringe players and fading stars off a crippling wage bill and that means Rafinha – like Suarez, Vidal, Ivan Rakitic and more – has no future at Camp Nou.
The Brazil international was nowhere to be seen as Barcelona beat Gimnastic 3-1 in Koeman’s first game at the helm during the weekend and remains persona non grata ahead of this afternoon’s clash with local neighbours Girona.
Sport claimed earlier this month that newly promoted Leeds had held talks with Rafinha, younger brother of Bayern Munich maestro Thiago.
The 2015 Champions League winner has a £14 million release clause in his contract. Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton remain Rafinha’s most likely destination (Sport).
At times like this, it is worth casting your mind back two years, when a Leeds side coached by Paul Heckinbottom slumped to a bottom-half finish in the Championship.
Nowadays a breathtaking, free-flowing side managed by Marcelo Bielsa, reinforced by Spanish and German internationals, are more than capable of giving Liverpool an almighty scare on their own hallowed turf.
Signing a Brazil international from Barcelona would be the latest in a long line of coups from ambitious owner Andrea Radrizzani.
Leeds United summer transfers 2020
Wolves (£16 million)
Lorient (£5 million)
Manchester City (Loan)
Wigan (£1 million)
Valencia (£26 million)
Freiburg (£13 million)
Feyenoord (£1 million)