Rafael injury leaves Man Utd light in defence

Rafael has left Manchester United’s tour of the United States due to injury and could force Louis van Gaal into signing a right-back ahead of the new Premier League season, the Guardian has reported.

The Brazilian has picked up a groin problem and as he won’t recover in time to take part in any of United’s remaining friendlies while stateside has returned to Manchester. It’s suggested that due to Rafael’s injury and van Gaal’s tactical plans for the season, United could go into the market.

Van Gaal has played with three central defenders and wing-backs this summer which means the likes of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling – who have been deployed in wider berths in the past – are needed in their more orthodox positions.

Antonio Valencia has filled in at right-back and could take the position until Rafael recovers, with United’s first league game of the season, at Old Trafford against Swansea City, to come on August 16.

Rafael has made 158 games for United, scoring five goals, moving from Fluminense with twin brother Fabio in the summer of 2008.

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