Most Inter fans will tell you that one of the main reasons why they have struggled so much during recent seasons has been due to a chronic lack of creativity in midfield.
Since the Nerazzurri won the Coppa Italia back in May 2011, the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Mateo Kovačić and João Mário have all tried and failed to become the team’s main focal point and fill the gap left by Wesley Sneijder.
Hence, when Rafinha joined on a six-month loan deal (with option to buy) from Barcelona in January, the vast majority of supporters hoped rather than expected that his arrival would have the desired effect.
Though it is still very much early days, the signs have been positive and he has slotted into the side very well, striking up a positive relationship with Marcelo Brozović, Ivan Perišić, Mauro Icardi et al.
While it remains to be seen whether the club will take up their option to sign him permanently this summer for a fee in the region of €35 million, the Brazilian’s contribution so far has been excellent and he will continue to play a vital part in their push to qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League.
Early indications are that sporting director Piero Ausilio will try to negotiate a discount with his Blaugrana counterparts, though he would be foolish to rule out the idea of spending big to keep the player at Appiano Gentile. After all, he may just prove to be the player Inter have spent the past seven years searching for.
Jordan Russell (@JordRuss96)