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Man United prepare another raid for Alcantara this summer

| 22.02.2014

One of the main frustrations for Manchester United fans over their summer of transfer failure was the number of creative midfielders the club missed out on in that time.

The name Alcantara was just one of several that wouldn’t be printed on the back of replica Red Devils shirts as Thiago chose Bayern Munich over David Moyes’ Man United revolution.

Rejection hasn’t stopped United, 11/1 longshots for a top-four finish, returning for another crack though, although this time it is for a different member of the family.

Thiago’s younger brother, Rafael, is the latest midfielder to catch the soon-to-be-disposed champions’ eye, with his performances on loan at Celta Vigo from Barcelona doing plenty to impress the scouts.

Rafael, commonly known as Rafinha, had made just three senior Barcelona appearances before joining the La Liga middlers temporarily this season, carving a career out in the Barcelona B team prior to that.

He is the highest rated Os Celticos player of the campaign, according to whoscored.com, and leads the team with four assists from his 19 league starts.

Having predominantly operated in central-midfield it’s clear to see why Moyes is a suitor, as the depth in that area is most commonly criticised at Old Trafford.

A squad-high 1.4 key passes per game also indicates Rafinha’s ability to feed teammates, but the fact he’s played on both flanks as well as on the right of an attacking three will be of great use to the Scottish manager should he capture the player this summer.

The younger Alcantara has represented both Spain and Brazil at international youth level, but is yet to make a senior appearance for either country.

He’s expected to push for a first-team spot at the Nou Camp next season, but with a plethora of youngsters in midfield – Sergi Roberto, Christian Tello and Jonathan dos Santos are all of a similar age – a move away could yet be on the cards.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.