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BARCELONA

Barcelona appear to be looking to sell Rakitic

The Croatian midfielder hasn’t started either of Barça’s two Liga games so far this season and the club are clearly indicating he’s on the market.

El centrocampista croata del Barcelona, Ivan Rakitic, durante un partido.
Irina R.H. Europapress

Since Rakitic arrived at Barcelona he’s been a fundamental player, both for Luis Enrique and, up to now at least, Ernesto Valverde.

The current coach said a year ago that “the best players have to be out on the pitch” when he heard that the Camp Nou bosses were considering selling Rakitic to cash in on his jump in value after the World Cup in Russia. Different times. The situation has now changed completely with Rakitic looking frozen out, and no matter whether he’s used in a deal to bring in Neymar or not, the fact is it's clear Barcelona would like to move Rakitic on.

Rakitic on the bench

The Croatian has started both Barcelona’s league games so far this season on the bench. In Bilbao, in the defeat to Athletic, he came on after 45 minutes for Aleñá, while against Betis he didn’t play a single minute. Something unthinkable last season, when, just like in previous seasons, he was one of the players who racked up the most playing time.

His position has been taken on both occasions by Sergi Roberto, who seems to have definitively moved to the midfield, leaving behind being a full-back, the position in which he came into the side under Luis Enrique.

Barcelona want to cash in on Rakitic

The executives at Barcelona see Rakitic as a saleable asset. At 31 he has two years left on his contract and has been waiting on a renewal for months, or at least a salary bump. Upon his return from the World Cup in Russia, Bartomeu promised him a new, improved deal, but eventually said Barcelona couldn’t afford it.

Furthermore, there are no end of offers for the player and the Barça bosses consider that his sale could bring in some much needed cash, without seriously affecting the sporting side of things. Barcelona have a surfeit of midfielders, meaning the departure of Rakitic should not cause too many problems.

Meanwhile Valverde’s direct opposition to the sale of Rakitic appears to have disappeared, and the coach’s team decisions only appear to support the plan to move Rakitic on.

Rakitic intends to stay at Barcelona

The player himself however intends to stay at the club, and has stated on every occasion he gets how happy he is in Barcelona, but after two weeks of the league campaign it’s clear his status in the squad has changed, and he’s effectively in the shop window. Even if he doesn’t leave, he’ll stay knowing he’s no longer one of Valverde’s untouchables.