The Brazilian was left out of the United squad that travelled to the United States for their pre-season tour on Monday and that has further fuelled speculation that his departure from Old Trafford is imminent.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) July 13, 2015
Over the weekend he posted an image via his official Instagram which appeared to signal his intent to stay at the club and fight to regain his spot as first choice right-back, however, it seems manager Louis van Gaal has other plans.
A photo posted by Rafael Da Silva (@orafa2) on
The arrival of Italy international Matteo Darmian [via BBC Sport] and the solid form of Antonio Valencia last season has resulted in Rafael being demoted to be the club’s third choice in that position and he has been offered an escape route by AS Roma, who can offer him the chance to play regular football in the upcoming campaign.
The 25-year-old’s agent Cassiano Pereira confirmed the Serie A side’s interest when speaking to Tutto Mercato Web on Monday afternoon and hinted that the player would be interested in a move to the Italian capital.
“Roma would be a destination more than welcome, we would be more than happy to talk to the club of the capital,” he said [via Star Sport].
“Italy would be a great opportunity but I must say that we have not heard anything about an interest from the Italian team for Rafael,” Pereira added.
Rafael is simply a casualty of failing to impress van Gaal last season as he made just 10 Premier League appearances, which was mainly down to numerous injury problems.
In his absence, Valencia became the regular right-back and despite Rafael returning to full fitness in the spring, he was afforded just three minutes of first-team football and his seven-and-a-half year spell with the Red Devils looks set to come to an end in the very near future.
Since his debut during the 2008-09 season he has made over 100 league appearances and has won the Premier League on three occasions.
There is expected to no shortage of interest in the defender, as Portuguese giants Benfica are thought to be keen on his signature and he could be used as makeweight in a deal for United to finally land Nicolas Gaitan [via Mirror Sport].