Man Utd open talks to sign midfield lynchpin as Barca set tempting fee

Date published: Monday 14th October 2019 9:02 - James Marshment

Manchester United are reported to have opened talks with Barcelona over a January deal for experienced midfielder Ivan Rakitic.

Reports suggesting Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faces the sack at United appear to be wide of the mark and it was claimed last week that he still has the backing of executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.

Furthermore, it’s reported that Solskjaer will be given funds to make up to four new signings in January – and the Norwegian has already identified more firepower up front and midfield reinforcements as a priority.

And with a deal for Mario Mandzukic said to be verbally agreed between United and Juventus, it seems Solskjaer is now turning his attentions towards his midfield – and a deal for long-standing target Rakitic also looks to be on the agenda for the Red Devils.

According to Sport, United have already registered their interest with Barcelona and have opened initial negotiations over a deal to bring the Croatia star to Old Trafford in January.

As per the Catalonian-based paper, Barca have set an asking price of just €40m (£34m) for the 31-year-old schemer – a fee United appear happy to match.

It’s claimed Inter are also in the running to sign Rakitic, with their manager Antonio Conte drawing up a four-man midfielder shopping list, though with United appearing the favourites for Rakitic, that could leave the Nerazzurri in the clear to snap up Nemanja Matic instead.

Rakitic has been a constant source of class, control and creativity in the Blaugrana midfield since his arrival from Sevilla in 2014 – his performances instrumental in guiding the club to four La Liga titles in five years.

But it seems the summer capture of Frenkie De Jong from Ajax has signalled the end of his time as a regular and the player admitted last week that he could seek a fresh challenge if his situation doesn’t improve.

“I don’t know what will happen now,” Rakitic said. “It’s tough because I want to play and not just be part of the team. I will do everything possible to change my situation.



“I have two years left on my deal and there’s no better place to play than Barcelona, the best club in the world, but I need to play and not just enjoy walks around the city and the beach.

“I spoke with people at the club, everyone knew I had other options.

“I want to fight so that the team see me ready to deliver on the pitch. I want to thank the fans for the affection they showed me this weekend, but if nothing changes, we will have to sit down and talk about my situation again.”

United have also been linked with a £70m swoop for Declan Rice, but the West Ham midfielder appears content to remain at the London Stadium for the time being at least when quizzed over the weekend.


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