Manchester United right-back Rafael was told in the summer he had no future at Old Trafford by manager Louis van Gaal.
This is according to information published by the Daily Star, who understand the Brazilian full-back is one of four Manchester United defenders who face being axed this year.
Along with Rafael, who arrived at Old Trafford in 2008, Van Gaal is also prepared to allow Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones to leave the club over the forthcoming months.
Van Gaal unhappy with current options
It's believed Van Gaal is unhappy with the quartet's inability to grasp his coaching methods and tactical plans - and is hoping to land two of Diego Godin, Mats Hummels or Raphael Varane as top-class replacements.
Rafael has endured an injury-hit campaign, which has limited him to nine appearances this term. Van Gaal has used Antonio Valencia in his place - at both right-back and right wing-back - and the Ecuador international has performed reasonably well when called upon.
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But it's clear that Van Gaal is seeking a permanent replacement for Rafael. Everton's Seamus Coleman has been strongly linked with the Red Devils in recent weeks - but would cost in excess of £20 million - while rumours linking Dani Alves with a shock move to Old Trafford from Barcelona have died down following reports that a deal had been agreed in October.
Rafael's best season to date came in 2012-13, Sir Alex Ferguson's final campaign in charge of the Red Devils, when he made 40 appearances - scoring three goals in the process.
But he was disappointing during David Moyes' brief spell in charge of the Premier League giants - and has failed to convince Van Gaal that he possesses the required mentality to adjust to his philosophy.
Rafael's hot-headedness has also been cited as one of the 24-year-old's biggest weaknesses. And earlier this season, when he conceded a needless penalty in the 5-3 defeat to Leicester City, Van Gaal witnesses first-hand the player's inability to stay cool under pressure.
Indeed, it's because of his fiery nature that he has not played a single international match for Brazil since the 2012 Olympics. The right-back was alienated after falling out with his teammates in the final, and was not considered as an option by the Selecao for the 2014 World Cup finals in his home country.
But because of his talent and experience, Rafael will have no shortage of potential suitors should Manchester United decide to cash in.
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