Manchester United's ongoing issues in the engine room have seen the club become linked with a long line of midfield talents in recent weeks, one of whom is Croatian international Ivan Rakitic.
Would Rakitic be worth a £33 million expenditure?
Given that the club are going through a boggy patch in their history, a tough transfer window lies ahead for the Red Devils.
On one hand, the Glazer family could commit big funds toward some January renovations in a bid to jump-start David Moyes' first campaign as manager at Old Trafford, which currently sees the club sitting eighth in the Premier League.
On the other hand, the owners of the Red Devils may wish to keep their transfer kitty under stricter conditions, seeing what Moyes can do with the current roster before plumping for expensive recruitment.
In either case, Rakitic may not be what's needed at the Theatre of Dreams right now. David Wright of The Express says that while United and Liverpool are currently jostling to land the midfielder's signature, any club looking to sign him would need to fork out the £33 million release clause stipulated in his contract.
Granted, the 25-year-old is a serious talent, but when £33 million is enough to land some of the world's biggest talents, Rakitic holds more risk than reward at that price.
With just 18 months remaining on his current deal, Sevilla face a tough 2014. They can either be stubborn regarding Rakitic's sale and risk losing him as a free transfer or cash in now on a satisfactory offer.
Squawka also shows the midfielder to be one of Europe's most in-form players halfway through December. Back in August, OptaJose tweeted about just how potent Rakitic's influence can be:
By Performance Score: Best defender in Europe: Basa (643). Best Midfielder: Rakitic (672) - Best Attacker: C.Ronaldo (881). @DJsetianto— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 13, 2013
7 - Ivan Rakitic has created seven goal chances against Levante, more than any other player in a La Liga game this season. Insufficient— OptaJose (@OptaJose) August 25, 2013
In total, Rakitic has netted on seven occasions and constructed 25 scoring opportunities for the Red and Whites, but his impact might be more limited at a club with bigger talents surrounding him.
It's not an unfamiliar story at Old Trafford. Marouane Fellaini and Wilfried Zaha are two recent examples of players who came to Manchester United after shining in smaller settings only to find the expectations a bit lofty under Moyes.
In terms of profile, Rakitic does fit the bill, however. A threat at set pieces who can play either from his team's core or as an attacking midfielder, the Croatian has a style that isn't unlike the character the club may look to partner alongside the likes of Michael Carrick, Fellaini, Phil Jones or Tom Cleverley.
Having let go of some big club figures in the last year, including Jesus Navas, Alvaro Negredo and Gary Medel, Sevilla certainly won't be eager to see another of their stars jump ship for a pittance.
However, that stubborn attitude could mean United are better off concentrating their efforts elsewhere, lest they find themselves putting a lot of time into but eventually missing out on another expensive prospect.