Liverpool have opened talks with Barcelona over a surprise deal for a midfielder – and could also sign one of his teammates – according to surprise reports in the Spanish media.
The two clubs are due to lock horns in the Champions League semi-final second leg at Anfield on Tuesday evening and Don Balon claims officials at the two clubs have used the opportunity to discuss some potential summer business.
The Spanish outlet claims Jurgen Klopp has targeted a summer swoop for Barca midfielder Ivan Rakitic as he looks to add more experience and guile to his midfield. The Croatian has made no secret of his wish to continue his stay at the Nou Camp, but with the LaLiga giants having already agreed a deal to sign Frenkie de Jong from Ajax this summer, serious question marks have been placed over his future.
While Barca could be convinced to sell Rakitic for the right price – a fee of £50million has been suggested – the Reds, however, may have a harder time persuading the former Sevilla man to pack his bags and move to Merseyside.
The player is a reported long-term target for Manchester United and, addressing those rumours, Rakitic seemed determined to stay put.
“I don’t want to be anywhere else,” Rakitic said.
“I hope the club, the president, the coach and the fans see this the same way I do.
“I hope they tell me that I’ll stay here for another three years.
“I’d like to be able to point to the three more years on my contract and to say I’ll be here three more years.
“Anything can happen in football, but I am very calm about it all.”
Rakitic moved to Barcelona in 2014 and has since amassed over 250 appearances for the club, winning the Champions League and three LaLiga titles.
It’s also suggested Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal has been sounded out over a potential signing, though the report states Barca would still need some convincing about the sale of a player who has become instrumental in Ernesto Valverde’s side.
The report claims that Klopp is seeking an upgrade for both Jordan Henderson – no longer considered a first choice in the Reds midfield – while James Milner, out of contract at Anfield in just over a year’s time – could also soon need replacing.
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