Manchester United Transfer News: United make fresh bid for Barcelona star Ivan Rakitic
What's the rumour?
In case you didn't know...
Rakitic captained Spanish side Sevilla to Europa League glory before joining Barcelona on a five-year deal in 2014. The 31-year-old won the treble of La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League in his first season at the club. Rakitic has made 169 appearances for the Blaugrana, scoring 24 goals so far.
The veteran began his international career at Switzerland's youth level before switching his allegiance to his parents' country Croatia.
Rakitic forms a formidable midfield partnership with Ballon d'Or winner Luka Modric for Croatia and the duo helped their nation reach the finals of the 2018 World Cup. Rakitic has scored 15 goals in 107 appearances since making his debut for Croatia in 2007.
The heart of the matter
United initially started talks with the Spanish giants several weeks ago. With talisman Paul Pogba itching for a move away from Old Trafford, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is keen to sign a solid replacement and has identified Rakitic as his top transfer target.
Although Solskjaer has made it clear to the United board that he wants to build and develop a youthful squad, Rakitic has played at the highest level and vital experience on the world stage would be a welcome addition to a dressing room full of young prospects.
Barca need to sell several players to comply with UEFA's Financial Fair Play regulations but are holding out for at least £43.6 million for the versatile midfielder.
The Croatian international recently signed a new deal keeping him at the Nou Camp until 2021. However, the arrival of talented youngster Frenkie de Jong from Ajax has meant that Rakitic is now considered surplus to requirements and Barcelona are happy to sell him this summer.
Pogba continues to be linked with a move to Real Madrid and Solskjaer has identified Rakitic as his first-choice replacement.
The Red Devils begin their pre-season tour against Australian side Perth Glory on July 13 before facing Championship side Leeds United on July 17. Solskjaer is eager to seal a deal for the Barcelona midfielder before United's first team squad return to Carrington.