PSG snatches Rafinha, signs Danilo Pereira on deadline day

Paris Saint-Germain secured a last-minute deal with Barcelona on the transfer window’s deadline day to lure Brazilian midfielder Rafinha just a few hours after Danilo Pereira joined the French league champion.

The arrival of the talented and experienced pair of midfielders in the French capital city is likely to appease tensions at the club, just days after sports director Leonardo criticized coach Thomas Tuchel last week for suggesting the club was weakened by failing to recruit new players.

Rafinha — the brother of Thiago Alcantara — never managed to cement a starting place at Barcelona and was shipped out on loan to Inter Milan and Celta Vigo.

PSG said he signed for three seasons. According to Spanish media, he joined as a free agent but the deal includes 3 million euros ($3.5 million) in potential bonuses while Barcelona should receive a sell-on fee on the player.

Announced soon after midnight on Tuesday, the transfer came just a few hours after Pereira signed from Porto on a season-long loan with an option to buy.

Following the Tuchel vs. Leonardo spat, PSG also secured 20-year-old forward Moise Kean, who on Sunday was loaned from English Premier League club Everton until the end of June.

While Kean’s signing was not seen as crucial given PSG’s attacking riches, the recruitment of a defensive midfielder such as Pereira was Tuchel’s priority. At age 29 and 1.88 meters tall, he will bring experience and physical strength in midfield alongside smaller-built Marco Verratti and Idrissa Gueye.

Pereira won the 2016 European Championship and the 2019 Nations League with Portugal and has 39 international appearances.

“It’s a new challenge for me, and to be part of Paris Saint-Germain fits my ambitions,” Pereira said. “Joining one of the biggest clubs in Europe and in the world is a huge moment in my career, and I hope to be able to bring a lot to Paris and its supporters.”

Tuchel, in his third season at PSG, regretted the departures of many important players, including Thiago Silva, Thomas Meunier and Tanguy Kouassi. He said the defending French champions and Champions League runners-up might need to lower expectations this season.

Following its 1-0 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League final in August, PSG endured a shaky start to the French league with two losses. Tuchel’s team has since bounced back with four straight wins, moving up to fourth.

Once hailed as a prodigy, Keane has struggled since leaving the Serie A in 2019. Trained at the Juventus academy, he turned professional in 2017 and won two Italian championships before moving to England. He scored only two goals in 31 Premier League games with Everton.

Meanwhile, PSG archrival Marseille secured the arrival of former French Under-20 international Michael Cuisance from Bayern Munich. The European champion announced the season-long loan a few hours after Marseille right back Bouna Sarr went the other way to sign with the Bavarian club until 2024.

With Marseille back in the Champions League, the 21-year-old Cuisance was on Andre Villas-Boas’ list of priorities as the Marseille coach sought to add depth in midfield.

Lyon strengthened its defense with the arrival of Italy international Mattia De Sciglio and Algeria fullback Djamel Benlamri.

De Sciglio signed from Juventus on a season loan. The deal with the former AC Milan full back does not include an option to buy, while Benlamri signed for one year with an option for another season.

Lyon, which loaned midfielder Jeff Reine-Adelaide to Nice until the end of June, also recruited 18-year-old attacking midfielder Habib Keita, who signed a five-year contract until June 2025 worth 1 million euros plus incentives. Keita previously played for Malian side FC Guidars.

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