Ivan Rakitic Says He Wants to Stay at Barcelona Amid Transfer Rumours

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IIDecember 27, 2019

BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 18: Ivan Rakitic of FC Barcelona  during the La Liga Santander  match between FC Barcelona v Real Madrid at the Camp Nou on December 18, 2019 in Barcelona Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic has said he wants to stay at the Camp Nou amid speculation he could leave the club in the January transfer window.

The 31-year-old told Sportske Novosti (h/t Colin Millar of Football Espana) he has not spoken to manager Ernesto Valverde about his future but made it clear he wants to remain with the Catalan giants.

"I have not spoken with Ernesto Valverde. There is nothing to say, I think everything is clear. For me it is important to enjoy football. I am happy to go training in the morning and prepare for the game in the best way possible. In the end, it is the coach who decides who will play and how often.

"I don't think about anything else apart from Barcelona. Of course, in football you must be prepared for anything, but my idea is to be here. I am very happy and proud to be here. Many things have happened that cannot be changed, but my goal is to play and do it in Barcelona."

Rakitic has been a regular under Valverde but lost his place in the starting XI at the start of the campaign, as the Barca coach went with a midfield of Arthur, Sergio Busquets and new signing Frenkie de Jong.

The Croatia international spoke in November about his sadness at being benched:

The Spanish Football Podcast @tsf_podcast

Rakitic on his situation at Barça: "How does my daughter feel when they take her toy away? Sad. I feel the same. They've taken my ball away, I feel sad" https://t.co/jAaByyC5yU

Yet injury to Arthur has seen Rakitic return to action for the Spanish champions. He started six of the club's last seven games before the Christmas break and captained the side in the 2-1 UEFA Champions League win over Inter Milan.

Serie A giants Juventus and Inter Milan have been linked with a move for Rakitic, but the Croatian has played down the rumours and said Barca is "the perfect place for me," per Goal's Liam Blackburn.

Barcelona do have an overcrowded midfield with Rakitic competing with Arthur, Busquets, De Jong, Arturo Vidal and Carles Alena for a spot but are expected to allow players to leave in the winter.

Luis F. Rojo and Antonio Cejas at Marca have reported that Alena will join Real Betis on loan at the end of the season. Meanwhile, Inter Milan have reached agreement with Vidal over a winter move, according to Tuttosport (h/t Sport).

Rakitic has shown in his most recent games he remains an important member of the squad, and while there may be departures in January, it seems as if he has done enough to stay at least until the end of the current campaign.