Transfer news

Rakitic could eye Italy move

Ivan Rakitic in Champions League action, at the Camp Nou, against Slavia Praha. / GETTY IMAGES EUROPE

Ivan Rakitic has seen his role reduced compared to last season, and having gone from starter to reserve player, he could be on his way out.

Despite not wanting to go for ‘walks on the beach’ in Barcelona, Ivan Rakitic has not had much time to walk on the pitch in the Blaugrana shirts this season either.

In the last La Liga campaign, he was the player with the seventh-most appearances in the squad, right behind Lionel Messi. The Croatian had accumulated 1,910 minutes of play, but since then has seen his playing time take a significant and visible hit.

He has seen himself victim to the heavy competition the midfield has had this term, with newcomer Frenkie de Jong, Arthur Melo, and veteran Sergio Busquets forming the preferred trident in the centre of the pitch for manager Ernesto Valverde.

Rakitic has barely featured in the 2019/20 season, and although he has been on the pitch for seven of the 12 games in the league so far, it’s been with very few minutes to show for it. Out of a possible 630 minutes in the seven games he has featured in, he played 198.

Due to the lack of playing time, and also possibly the lack of public backing by Ernesto Valverde, the midfielder has been considering a way out of Barcelona even as soon as January.

He wants to reverse his situation, but also remains realistic. He’s publicly made it clear that he wants to stay, but also wants playing time, which Valverde at the moment cannot guarantee him given the heavy competition in midfield. Therefore, should his situation not change, or even change for the worse, he will do his part to leave the club this winter.

Should that be the case, finding a new club would not be a problem for the Croatian. He has garnered interest from Italy for some time, with Inter Milan and Juventus being in the running for his signature. The Nerazzurri have been interested in acquiring Rakitic for a long time now, and reports from Italy have multiple times said that the interest still is very much existent.

Reportedly, Antonio Conte would like Rakitic in his side, and given the Croatian’s issues with the Catalan club currently, a move to Inter should not be ruled out. More so, the competition for a spot there would be less than one in Juventus – and the situation of players like Aaron Ramsey, Adrien Rabiot, Paulo Dybala and Federico Bernardeschi are a testament to that.

However, the two Italian giants will face competition from another historical Italian club, AC Milan. Italian news outlet TuttoSport report that Milan are keen on acquiring Rakitic on loan this coming January. The loan deal would ideally include an option to buy for the Italian side, with the Italian side currently speculating over the feasibility of such a deal. The club’s technical director, Paolo Maldini, and CEO, Zvonimir Boban, are in favor of the deal, although they realize the fee could be hefty.

Barcelona have valued Rakitic at between 30 to 35 million Euros, and despite the price tag, the ones in favor of his signing in Milan realize that he is a renowned player and would be liked by the fans, as well as a good sporting addition to the squad.

Ivan Rakitic’ current contract with Barcelona runs out in 2021, and was last renewed in March of 2017, and the Croatian once again saw himself omitted from the starting lineup for the Liga fixture against Celta this weekend.

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