Ivan Rakitic is reportedly the target of both Liverpool and Manchester United.
The addition of Ivan Rakitic to the Liverpool midfield would have been an inspired choice. However, Sevilla's recent refusal to consider any offers below the £33 million in his release clause should halt the Croatian's arrival.
With Rakitic reportedly unhappy about Sevilla's recent inability to challenge for a top European place, it's only a matter of time before he makes the switch to another club. With just a year and a half remaining on his contract, it would be unwise for Rodgers to make such an expensive move in January.
Of course, it's possible that another club meets the release clause, but the two sides most heavily linked with Rakitic are Liverpool and Manchester United. With David Moyes' first season in charge not going to plan, Anfield is a much more attractive destination right now.
Ander Herrera completed the 12th-highest amount of passes (1496) in La Liga last term, more than Messi (1463), Rakitic (1269) & Özil (984).— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 2, 2013
Steven Gerrard cannot play forever and Rodgers is wise to start seeking his replacement. In Rakatic he would have a player capable of succeeding the Liverpool legend, but the summer would be a better time to make the move.
If Sevilla's season continues in its current vein, Rakatic could start forcing his way out of Spain. If this happens, Liverpool should then take advantage and start negotiating with player and club. It's likely that a deal could be struck that is better value than the £33 million being tabled right now.
Rakitic is a wonderful player who has consistently performed for Sevilla. His seven goals lead the team this year and, according to Squawka, he rates as the best midfielder in Europe right now:
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
January is often a time when teams overpay for players in a bid to give their season a final push. Liverpool will undoubtedly be keen to cement their place in the top four, especially with recent speculation linking Luis Suarez's new contract with European playing time.
Nevertheless, Liverpool are strong enough to secure a Champions League spot without Rakitic and a £33 million outlay would likely mean that no other players could be brought to Anfield in January.
While Merseyside is an ideal destination for the 25-year-old, both he and Brandan Rodgers would be better served by waiting until the end of the season before discussing the matter.
In the meantime, Rodgers can use January to strengthen his squad at multiple positions, enabling him to provide vital support and facilitate a run at the Champions League once again.
Sevilla's captain would do that, too, of course, but Rodgers will not be pressured into panic at a time when his side sits in second place, just two points behind leaders Arsenal.
Rakitic is a name to return to in the offseason, but there is no need to rush to meet his release clause when he has already expressed dissatisfaction with his current club.