After a productive stint with Inter in the second half of last season, Rafinha appears set to re-join parent club Barcelona for the time being at least.
The 25-year-old joined the Nerazzurri in January, and went on to make 17 Serie A appearances, scoring two goals and providing three assists.
Having established himself as a key part of their push to qualify for the Champions League next season, via a thrilling win over Lazio on the last day of the season, coach Luciano Spalletti will surely be eager to take him to the San Siro on a permanent basis to keep his current group intact.
Albeit coming off the back of a serious injury, the competition for places at Barcelona could make life difficult for Rafinha to build on the last six months and prove himself at the Nou Camp. The last thing he’ll want for his career is to go back to stagnating after seemingly making a real breakthrough in Italy.
However, with Financial Fair Play regulations in mind, Spalletti has effectively ruled out the chances of seeing Inter sign Rafinha outright any time soon, although he did leave the door open for a swoop perhaps later in the summer when the club’s financial situation is secure.
“Now we need to abide by the settlement agreement signed by the previous owners,” he is quoted as saying by Calciomercato. “Once that’s done we can reinvest, but it’s difficult to get big names, like last year.
“That’s not to say they won’t arrive, but everything depends on what we can come up with. Right now Rafinha and Cancelo can’t be signed outright, even if they did very well for Inter. We’ll see later, but right now we can’t.”
For the reasons mentioned above, Rafinha may well be disappointed by this latest update, but if a move to Inter doesn’t materialise, perhaps he’s done enough since January to convince Ernesto Valverde that he deserves a bigger role for Barcelona next season.