Why Barcelona should offload Rakitic sooner rather than later
The 2014-15 Champions League winner had earlier been linked with a move to Premier League side Manchester United.
Italians clubs such as Inter Milan and Juventus were also seemingly interested in the Croatian midfielder.
However, the four-time La Liga winner with Barcelona has increasingly fallen down the pecking order with current coach Ernesto Valverde.
Also, the arrival of Dutch playmaker Frankie de Jong in the summer has put his starting place in even more contention.
Meanwhile, the Spanish giants had rejected the transfer bid as it fell way short of their €35m valuation for the Croatian.
Having played over 278 games for the Catalonians, Rakitic has scored 38 goals and assisted 34 times since arriving from Sevilla in 2014.
Rakitic, who has played over a hundred (106) games for his country, has become something of an outcast with De Jong, Sergio Busquets, Arthur, Arturo Vidal and Sergi Roberto given the nod ahead of the Croatian.
He also played an instrumental role alongside Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric in leading their country to the 2018 World Cup final.
However, they lost the final to France. The former Sevilla player, meanwhile, has 15 international goals to his credit.
A regular until recently, Rakitic has played a total of ten games from all competitions this season and has managed to find the back of the net just once.
However, with so much competition in the middle, and Rakitic clearly not in Valverde’s plans, a move elsewhere would be beneficial for both the parties.
With Valverde favouring a more vibrant and younger midfield, the highly-talented Rakitic has increasingly seen himself being sidelined this season.
Out of his seven appearances in the league this season, six of them have been from the bench.
An excellent passer and reader of the game, Rakitic’s pass success has gone down from 91.4% last season to 84.6% this season, according to Whoscored. A clear reflection that the 31-year old’s performances have deteriorated over time.
Also, Arthur has repaid Valverde’s faith in him by scoring two goals and assisting three from seven appearances this season. Meanwhile, De Jong has cemented his place as a regular by featuring in 11 of Barcelona’s 12 league matches.
With the youngsters doing a good job in the middle for the La Liga leaders, Valverde seems more reliant on his younger crop of players.
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As he builds a team with the club’s future in mind, Rakitic clearly seems to be one of the first among the old guard to be shown the exit door.
Also with performances on the pitch going according to plan, offloading their former champion sooner than later would be an honourable choice considering the trophies he has won for them.