News of Manchester City’s reported interest in Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic came out of nowhere on Sunday night, with one of Croatia’s most reliable sources, Jutarnji list, claiming that the 28-year-old was close to a move to the Etihad.
Barcelona boss Luis Enrique was quick to play it down, despite the Croatian international not even making his last match day squad, and it seemed this could be a run-of-the-mill transfer rumour, despite originating from a credible outlet.
However, the claims from Croatia have been backed up by a reputable Spanish journalist this evening. Sique Rodríguez of Cadena SER has told Carrusel Deportivo that contract talks between Rakitic and Barcelona have stalled, and that Pep Guardiola is seriously interested in signing him.
RAKITIC | No avanza la negociación de su contrato. Guardiola estaría muy interesado en él y él en jugar con Guardiola vía @SiqueRodriguez
— Carrusel Deportivo (@carrusel) January 11, 2017
With two good sources now reporting City’s interest in the Barça player, it suggests there may be something to this, although doesn’t necessarily mean a deal would happen this month. Despite having a number of good midfield options, Barcelona are likely to want to hold on to Rakitic until at least the summer.
City have lost Ilkay Gündoğan for the season to injury, while Yaya Touré is out of contract in June with no sign of a renewal at this stage. Fernando and Fabian Delph are two other midfield options whose City futures are in doubt, with Delph being linked with a loan move away as early as this month.