Louis van Gaal will give Rafael one last chance to save his Manchester United career by handing him a place in the first-team this weekend, reports The Mirror.
The Brazilian right-back looked set to leave Old Trafford this summer after making just two appearances in 2015. However, an impressive performance for the under-21s in midweek has forced Van Gaal to consider giving him a reprieve.
Antonio Valencia's place in the team is under threat after his howler allowed Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck to score the winning goal in a disastrous 2-1 FA Cup defeat. Van Gaal is likely to drop the Ecuadorian as a result and give Rafael his place against Tottenham Hotspur.
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It will be his first start since October's 1-1 draw against Chelsea last October and his last chance to convince the Manchester United boss that he is capable of playing at the highest level. If he fails to impress, the transfer list looks the most likely destination.
Rafael scored a 30-yard wonder goal for the Under-21's this week and caught the eye of the watching assistant manager Ryan Giggs. Van Gaal's reversion to 4-4-2 has allowed Rafael back into the fold.
Rafael joined Manchester United as a teenager with a bright future. The 17-year-old arrived with his brother Fabio with Sir Alex Ferguson seeing him as a potential successor to Gary Neville. But while he has made over 100 Premier League appearances, Van Gaal has been left unconvinced by his performances.
He is likely to be sold in the summer with Nathaniel Clyne thought to be top of Van Gaal's transfer wish list. Dani Alves of Barcelona has also been linked with a free transfer move. That will bring an end to a seven-year stay at Old Trafford with a return to Brazil most likely.
But Rafael has the potential to succeed in the Premier League and may have taken his eye off of the ball since Ferguson retired. But Manchester United's spending power makes it ever so easy for Van Gaal to sign an upgrade. While he may start against Tottenham, he is unlikely to convince Van Gaal to halt his summer transfer plans.
Do you think Rafael has what it takes to make it at Manchester United or should Louis van Gaal cash in as soon as possible? Give us your thoughts in the comments box below!
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