Changes are coming to Barcelona after a season without a single meaningful title and three years of no Champions League trophy. Bringing creativity and talent to their midfield seems to be on the agenda, and on top of the list of players who fit the description seems to be Ivan Rakitic of Sevilla.
The 26-year old who has been playing for Sevilla since 2011 and enjoyed his best season in 2013-2014 is valued at €22 million and because his contract runs out at the end of next season, Sevilla might not be in a position to start bumping up the price, unless there’s going to be some serious competition for the player who finished last season with 12 goals and 12 assists in La Liga matches.
Barcelona have two players lineup up for an exit: Alex Song, who has barely played over the last two years since joining from Arsenal, and Cesc Fabregas who overall has been slightly disappointing, not fulfilling the promises of the returning son. According to Gerard Pique, caught on microphone talking to Vicente Del Bosque before a press conference, Fabregas is already on his way out of the Nou Camp, with Chelsea as the most likely destination.
Rakitic will appear for Croatia in the 2014 World Cup and it’ll be his third inclusion in a national squad for a major tournament following the European championships of 2008 and 2012. He didn’t have the easiest of times during the first couple of seasons at Sevilla, but over the last two years has turned into the team’s most dominant player, playing a huge part in their Europa League success, winning the competition for the third time.
Fabregas leaving opens up a spot in the midfield for when Barcelona play with four central midfielders and two forwards. Rakitic isn’t exactly someone who excels on the wing but is more of an attacking midfielder, almost a playmaker of sorts. He has been used on the right side from time to time, but he doesn’t fit the mold of a Barcelona winger, unless we’re going to see some drastic change in tactics as well from the Catalan club.
Some teams are trying to complete their business with some players before the World Cup begins so they have a clear mind going into preseason later on this summer. Croatia isn’t a team that is predicted to go very far in any case, but Barcelona are trying to beat some teams interested in Rakitic to the punch, hoping that some quick work and moves in early June will pay off for them before this turns into a bidding war they might not be able to win. Barcelona have also shown interest in Koke of Atletico Madrid to fill Fabregas’ shoes.