Raphinha keeps saving FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona have found it hard to score this season. While their defense has been phenomenal, it’s safe to say that the offense hasn’t blown any minds recently. On top of that, Ousmane Dembélé and Robert Lewandowski have both missed time this season. Barça needed someone to step up, and someone has: Raphinha.

Raphinha has drawn some criticism for not being the prototypical Brazilian. His style of play is more direct, and his dribbling isn’t his strongest point (although it isn’t as bad as some might say). However, he’s been on a great run of form lately. He’s up to 9 goals and 9 assists for Barça this season. After recently revealing his personal goal of 10 goals and 10 assists for this season, he seems well on his way to achieving this goal.

He scored a wonderful right-footed goal last weekend against Athletic Bilbao in a 0-1 win for Barcelona. These were three crucial points, away from home, in a difficult match at a difficult stadium. He’s been doing this all season, also scoring against Valencia, Sevilla, and Betis. These goals have been crucial during a season where goals have been hard to find.

He scored and assisted in the first leg against Manchester United as well, keeping Barcelona alive after that match.

There have been rumors that Barcelona would sell a forward this year, and Joan Laporta admitted that a player must leave this summer if signings are to be made. Ferran Torres and Ansu Fati have been heavily linked to a move away from the Catalan team this off-season, but there have also been rumblings of Raphinha being the player moved. There’s been interest in him from several Premier League sides, and Barça are said to be considering the option.

In my opinion, this would be a mistake. Raphinha has had a great first season so far, despite what some fans might be thinking, and the results keep reflecting that. During a somewhat transitional season, playing with new players, and dealing with plenty of injuries, Raphinha has constantly put in good efforts. He’s shown a lot of potential while also providing goal contributions this year. The potential isn’t just theoretical; there’s evidence that he can be a productive player on this team.

Some may say that he plays the same position as Dembélé, but let’s be honest: can fans have faith in the French winger staying healthy at all? He’s basically guaranteed to miss matches every season. Raphinha can definitely get playing time in this side as currently constructed, and as we’ve seen before, Dembélé is ambidextrous and can also play on the left side if need be.

Raphinha has had a marvelous 2022/23 campaign, and he deserves a chance to grow even more into the role. If a forward must be sold this summer, I would hope it wouldn’t be Raphinha.

Should Raphinha be sold this summer? Or does he deserve to stay, given the performances he’s put in?