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Barcelona could turn to the transfer market in January after losing midfielder Rafinha to injury for the rest of the season, according to manager Ernesto Valverde, reports ESPN.
Rafinha, 25, injured the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee against Atletico Madrid on Saturday and will undergo surgery next week.
The Brazil international has made eight appearances so far this season and featured regularly when Lionel Messi was injured recently, starting the wins over Inter Milan and Real Madrid at Camp Nou.
“It’s something we have to analyse,” Valverde said when asked if the club would look to sign a replacement for Rafinha in January. “The injury came as a surprise, because of how it happened. He was able to finish the game against Atletico, then on Sunday [we find out the extent of the problem].
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“We will have to look at everything. The January transfer window is close, so we will have to look at the circumstances and see what we do.”
Barca’s desire to sign a new midfielder precedes the injury to Rafinha. Sources have confirmed to ESPN FC that Paris Saint-Germain’s Adrien Rabiot and Ajax’s Frenkie de Jong are both being considered, while Manchester United’s Paul Pogba has split opinion at the club.
However, there are plenty of midfielders already at the club — in the first team and the B team — who could benefit from Rafinha’s spell on the sidelines.
Valverde suggested Carles Alena and Denis Suarez could now get more game time, while also name-checking Barca B players Riqui Puig, Alex Collado, Monchu and Oriol Busquets.
Alena, Denis and Puig are all part of the squad which travelled to Eindhoven on Tuesday for Barca’s Champions League game against Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven.