Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has left subtle hints that he would be open to selling Ivan Rakitic this summer due to increasing competition in midfield.
Barcelona might be willing to listen to offers for Ivan Rakitic after Ernesto Valverde left hints that the midfielder could find it difficult to become a first-team regular next season – as reported by Sport.
Following the club’s defeat to Chelsea in the Rakuten Cup, the Barcelona boss said, “Just like every other year, he’ll need to fight for his place. Let’s see what happens this time. He’s always fought and won his place, but we now have a lot of players and greater competition.”
The report claims this is the first time Valverde has remained coy Rakitic’s future and hasn’t immediately ruled out an exit, fueling speculations that the midfielder, could, in fact, be on his way out of Catalonia this summer. However, Barcelona cannot use him as a makeweight in a deal to bring back Neymar as Paris Saint-Germain are not interested in his services.
And that makes sense, as the French champions have already brought in Pablo Sarabia and Ander Herrera. They are also trying to rope in Everton ace Idrissa Gueye while Juventus’ Blaise Matuidi is a target as well. Hence, they are not in apparent need of central midfielders, despite the departure of Adrien Rabiot to the Serie A.
Manchester United is another potential destination for Rakitic. The Red Devils were reportedly keen on signing the Croatian international throughout this summer, and he could have been a logical addition as well given the club’s lack of industrious midfielders, especially following the departure of Herrera.
Rakitic, to that end, would have been an excellent partner to Paul Pogba, with either Scott McTominay or Nemanja Matic occupying the holding midfield role in Ole-Gunnar Solskjaer’s 4-3-1-2 setup. His reported €50 million valuation is also reasonable, considering the quality of the player.
As for Barcelona, themselves, getting rid of Rakitic will help them cut down on wages while his transfer fee will be useful in funding a return for Neymar. It was unlikely the Croatian international would have been a regular fixture in the first-team either, especially after the arrival of de Jong.
The Dutchman joined Barcelona from AFC Ajax following a remarkable campaign that saw them reach the semi-final of the UEFA Champions League. He is already a star and is expected to become a vital part of the Barcelona midfield within the coming years.
Rakitic had recently claimed that he had no plans of leaving Barcelona, but Valverde’s latest comments do cast his future in a bit of a doubt. It now remains to be seen if the Croatian remains at Camp Nou come next season.