Despite making 40 appearances for the English champions last season, the rumours coming out of Brazil suggest Corinthians have got Rafael considering a January move.
On paper it would be somewhat of a left-field decision if 23-year-old right-back Rafael were to leave Old Trafford for Sao Paulo, but then homesickness could be a factor.
Both Rafael and his brother Fabio da Silva were plucked from Brazil as teenagers and in a year where the World Cup is taking place in their homeland, the temptation could easily be there.
Reports surfacing form a Brazilian newspaper had even suggested that the Corinthians’ board were “optimistic” a deal could be done.
Of course, it could just as easily be the Brazilian club’s way of unsettling the player, who has now been out of action since coming off with a hamstring injury in the season-opening Community Shield.
It may depend on just how easily he gets back into the team, as although he was first choice last season under Sir Alex Ferguson, he may not be David Moyes’ automatic pick.
For many, the diminutive full-back really came of age last season, so often making his trademark raids down the right flank, even scoring three times for United, while his defensive game came on leaps and bounds.
If United are to retain their Premier League title – rated as long as 9/2 by Ladbrokes at present – it would make little sense to shift Rafael off the books.
Nevertheless, Moyes does have plenty of other options to play in that position which does cloud the situation slightly.
As well as current first-choice Chris Smalling, there is Phil Jones, Rafael’s brother Fabio and even Uruguayan signing Guillermo Varela, a specialist right-back who is yet to feature for the Red Devils.
If it does become tricky for Rafael to force his way back into the side, stranger things will have happened, but it would not likely be a popular move with United fans already skeptical of Moyes’ transfer policy.
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