The report suggests that the French outfit are willing to sell the right-back to any of the suitors – including Brighton and Crystal Palace.
Rafael, 29, came through the youth ranks of Fluminense before Sir Alex Ferguson signed him in 2008 in a double deal with his twin brother Fabio. He went on to make 170 appearances for the Red Devils before joining Lyon in 2015.
He is in his fourth season at the Groupama Stadium and has one year left on his contract with the club. A regular member in the squad for the last three seasons, Rafael has fallen behind Kenny Tete in the ongoing campaign.
Meanwhile, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side are showing signs of progress with victories over Tottenham, Chelsea and Aston Villa in recent weeks. Target man Danny Ings has become a crucial member, scoring at a decent rate along with the other attackers.
Despite staying in the relegation zone for a majority of this season, the Saints now find themselves 12th in the standings and five points clear of the bottom-three.
However, the manager has to ensure that the squad has enough depth with a difficult phase of the season ahead. One area of concern for the Austrian tactician would be their defence, which has leaked in 38 goals in 21 league games. This clearly shows the need to make adjustments to their backline.
Cedric Soares has entered the last six months of his contract with the club. He has featured in 13 league games so far and Yan Valery has not been convincing. Therefore, the manager must arrange for immediate reinforcements to bring stability at the back.
In that regard, Rafael da Silva could be a good addition to the squad. He has immense experience under his belt, having plied his trade in the Premier League with Manchester United previously.
The 29-year-old still has gas left in his tank before reaching the twilight of his career. While at Old Trafford, Rafael was effective at both ends of the pitch.
The Brazil international is capable of playing on either side of the pitch and whenever required, he has been perfect in the midfield. This would bring a different dimension to Southampton’s game.
With no proper back-up and Cedric’s contract set to expire soon, the Saints must move ahead of their rivals to sign Rafael. He would not only be a better back-up but can also start in crucial fixtures, given his abilities and experience.
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