Ivan Rakitic‘s future at Barcelona remains uncertain with sources telling ESPN FC that no decisions regarding the makeup of next season’s squad will be taken until later in March.
Rakitic has made it clear he wants to stay at Barca if possible but reports suggest the signing of Ajax’s Frenkie de Jong could force the club to sell a big-name midfielder.
The Croatian international has been touted as the most likely to go because of the number of suitors he has around Europe. Manchester United are the most recent club to be linked with him but there’s also strong interest from Inter Milan.
Sources neither confirmed nor denied if Barca would be open to selling Rakitic this summer, reiterating that decisions of that magnitude have been parked while Ernesto Valverde’s side continue to compete on three fronts.
Rakitic, 30, had the chance to join Paris Saint-Germain last year. The French club were prepared to pay up to €90 million and offer him a huge pay rise, but Valverde managed to talk him into staying.
The Barca coach has made the midfielder a key part of his side. As he completes 100 games in charge of the Catalans against Real Madrid on Wednesday, no player has made more appearances for him than Rakitic (92).
After turning down PSG last summer, Rakitic appealed for a “gesture” from the club in the form of an improved contract. Sources told ESPN FC at the time — and president Josep Maria Bartomeu has since confirmed — that the finances aren’t in place to renew his terms at the moment.
Following the recent contract extension handed to Valverde, the club are working on tying down Jordi Alba, whose deal expires in 2020. Rakitic’s contract runs until 2021 and his release clause is €125m.
Since then, Rakitic has backtracked slightly on his contract demands. Speaking after an impressive performance in Barca’s 4-2 win over Sevilla last Saturday, he said he finds the rumours about his future funny and stated his desire to remain at Camp Nou.
“I have three more years on my contract,” he told reporters. “I want to stay here. I’m flattered that big clubs ask about me, if they do, but I only see myself at Barca.
“I laugh a little bit in the morning with my coffee when I see [stories] about my future.”