Sevilla’s midfield maestro Ivan Rakitic is a target for the top three sides in Spain, according to his father.
The Croatian playmaker was superb for the Europa League winners throughout the course of the last campaign, and his performances have seemingly not gone unnoticed, with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid all interested in his services.
Rakitic’s father Luka confirmed the interest of the trio, but insisted Sevilla have yet to give up on keeping their star man, per Jutarnji (h/t Rik Sharma of the Mail Online):
Right now his brother Dejan, who looks after his career, has offers from Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.
But in any case, nothing will be decided until after the World Cup. However the conditions offered so far are no better than those submitted by Sevilla, where Ivan is a god.
The 26-year-old has a release clause of £32.5 million in his Sevilla contract, but according to Sharma’s piece, the aforementioned trio are hopeful of getting the player for a fee closer to £25 million.
Rakitic caught the eye with some wonderful performances toward the end of the campaign that saw Sevilla storm up the table and then to European glory. Here’s a few reasons why he is such a highly coveted player:
The midfielder's coupe de grace for the season was the imperious performance in Sevilla’s Europa League final win over Benfica, a game in which Bleacher Report’s Sam Tighe was very impressed with the playmaker:
Right then. Which lucky club gets Ivan Rakitic?— Sam Tighe (@stighefootball) May 14, 2014
Rakitic is a supremely elegant midfielder that would be an asset to any of the three clubs that are reportedly chasing his signature. But what awaits him should he jump ship from Sevilla to one of the three giants of the Spanish game?
The team in which he would see the most playing time would surely be the Spanish champions Atletico Madrid, where he would add a calm, collected presence to complement Diego Simeone’s aggressive, intense philosophy.
At Real Madrid he’d be able to slot in alongside his compatriot Luka Modric and the unshakeably composed Xabi Alonso to make a technically astute midfield triumvirate. On the other hand, if he pushed for a move to La Blaugrana, he’d revel alongside players like Xavi and Andres Iniesta, who like Rakitic, excel at finding space and keeping the ball.
Here’s how the Croatian compared last season to the star midfield players for each of the top three clubs in Spain:
|Rakitic (Sevilla)||Koke (Atletico)||Modric (Real)||Iniesta (Barca)|
|Average Key Passes||2.3||1.9||1.5||1.5|
It’s becoming increasingly clear that Rakitic has a big decision to make this summer. His role in Sevilla’s Europa League win has already earned him legendary status with the club’s supporters, but it is difficult to see the Andalusians building on their success from last season without some substantial monetary backing.
By contrast, in Catalonia or in Madrid, Rakitic would be challenging for the game's biggest honours on a much more regular basis.
Where will Rakitic be playing next season?
Rakitic is approaching the peak years of his career and if he harbours ambitions of winning some of the game’s most illustrious prizes, now could be the time to move on.
You suspect that if they were offered the right amount, Sevilla would cash in. They are club that have had their fair share of financial difficulties in recent years, per Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC, and have subsequently fashioned a reputation as a selling club; they cashed in on star men Alvaro Negredo and Jesus Navas last summer, with the pair moving to Manchester City.
After three years in Andalusia, Rakitic will feel as though he may have gone as far as possible with this Sevilla team. With three clubs of Real, Atletico and Barcelona's stature chasing you, it’d take an incredible show of loyalty to turn down a move.
If Sevilla do accept a big, Rakitic has a decision to make that most professional footballers could only dream of.