Spain

The rationale behind Barcelona choosing Raphinha over Antony this summer

Barcelona and Manchester United both ended up signing tricky Brazilian wingers this summer, both of whom are in contention for the World Cup squad with the Selecao.

As it turns out, the Blaugrana signed Raphinha but they did evaluate the option of signing Antony from Ajax. According to Sport, Barcelona undertook an extensive analysis of the pair and came to the decision between Sporting Director Jordi Cruyff and Manager Xavi Hernandez that Raphinha suited them better.

One of the key factors was that Raphinha already had a good understanding of the system that Xavi wanted to play, having been versed in a similar idea under Marcelo Bielsa.

Equally their analysis was that in spite of Antony’s brilliant one-on-one ability, the Manchester United winger is much more individualistic. Raphinha is more dedicated to the collective, intense in his defensive work and not afraid of sacrifice.

Equally, and this might be the most decisive factor, Raphinha ended up being considerably cheaper. United ended up paying a total of €95m for Antony, €42m more than Barcelona paid Leeds.

It is always worth taking leaks that leave a club in a positive light with a pinch of salt, yet the analysis does seem sound. Raphinha’s capacity to pressure the opposition has impressed early doors and the former Rennes winger is fitting in well to Xavi’s concept of play.