Rafinha Alcântara has a torn anterior cruciate ligament, and there's a slight chance he'll have to undergo season-ending surgery. Even if he is to return, he won't be back at least until April. Which brings us to the question: should Barcelona look for a replacement to the Brazilian in the January transfer window?
The answer is yes, and it comes with the name of İlkay Gündoğan. The Borussia Dortmund midfielder is a dream signing for almost every Barça fan, and there were negotiations between the two clubs for his signing back in July, but no deal was done and the German signed a contract extension with his club.
However, the reason talks didn't go through was because of Barça's transfer ban, and Gundogan didn't want to be away from football for six months. He wants a future transfer to Catalonia, and that might happen in January, sources told Barça Blaugranes back then.
Now, there is the necessity for it. With Rafinha's injury, the only replacement options come from Barça B, specifically, Sergi Samper, Gerard Gumbau and Juan Cámara. But with players this young -- apart from Samper --, you never know if they'll be able to handle the pressure, or if they can even reach their full potential -- again, apart from Samper, because he's incredible. That's why Gundogan becomes an almost perfect choice. Here's a few reasons why:
1. He's not cup tied. A lot of rumors recently suggested that the transfer of Paul Pogba to the Blaugrana was set to happen in January, but since the Frenchmen has already played in the Champions League with Juventus, he's prohibited to play that same competition with another team this season, which almost rules out his arrival in the winter. That problem won't happen with Gundogan, since Dortmund is playing the Europa League this season. So if he joins in January, we can use him in the Champions League knockout stage.
2. He's not injury-prone. That was the biggest concern for anyone who would evaluate Ilkay. His entire 2014 was plagued by physical issues, and many people thought that Gundogan was not going to be able to play at a high level again. But he has been healthy for quite a while, and his start to the season, just like Dortmund's, has been otherworldly. He is in fantastic form, and it appears that he's not going back to those dark, injured days.
3. Arda Turan is not a CM. The Turkish is so good he can adapt to the position and play naturally in the middle once he starts playing in January. But that's not his natural position, and he might struggle. It would be good to bring in a natural at that role who is an absolutely perfect fit for the Blaugrana's system. And Gundogan is all of that.
Come on, Bartomeu. Just call Dortmund already.