Arsenal Eye Barca Star to Replace Ozil and Sanchez

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Arsenal are preparing for life without Alexis Sanchez, 28, and if Mesut Özil, 29, joins him in walking away from the Emirates, they have a plan, according to Don Balon.

The answer to their problems is 24-year-old Barcelona star Rafinha. Heavily linked with Juventus in the past, it is Arsenal who have stolen a march in the race for his services.

Currently injured, the twice-capped Brazilian is yet to feature for the Blaugrana. Very much a squad player, he is in his seventh season at the Camp Nou and yet to establish himself in the first team.

Coming to the prime of his career, Rafinha is keen to move to a club where he will be considered a key member of the starting line-up. With Özil and Sanchez both gone, it’s a role he would fill at Arsenal.

Arsène Wenger sees Rafinha very much as the replacement for the German albeit starting him in Sanchez’s wide role to begin with. It is on the flanks where the Frenchman likes to introduce overseas players to the physical rigours of the Premier League.

Barcelona haven’t yet given up hope of persuading the player that he has a future in Catalunya but the real test will be when he is back at full fitness. If he can’t force his way into the side on a regular basis, a ticket to north London will surely be waiting.