Barcelona out to gazump Liverpool bid for World Cup star
While Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic is currently preparing to face Brazil in the opening game of the World Cup, back home two giants of the European game are set to battle it out for the 26-year-old star.
In one corner you have Liverpool, fresh from coming oh-so-close to a first ever Premier League title and looking to beef up their squad ahead of a season in which they will make their long-awaited return to the Champions League.
In the other you have Barcelona, something of a wounded animal after relinquishing their La Liga crown to Atletico Madrid on the last day of the season.
But while the Reds may hold some hope of recruiting the former Schalke playmaker, who has impressed for Europa League winners Sevilla this season, the Catalans have stolen a march on their transfer rivals if current rumours are to be believed.
A report in Bild indicates that Barca are closing in on a deal for Rakitic which would see the club pay a hefty €20m to the Andalusians as part of the deal.
That bid could be subject to the departure of Cesc Fabregas though, with the former Arsenal man linked with moves to one of Chelsea or Manchester United this summer.
Liverpool will therefore have to move fast if they are to avoid missing out on the Croatian, who is all set to star for national team this summer, as they look to advance from a group containing the hosts as well as Mexico and Cameroon.
With any impressive performances for the national team likely to see his price tag increase, Barcelona are understandably keen to complete the deal.
Liverpool, meanwhile, could be forced to decide whether they wish to continue their reported pursuit of Rakitic or instead redouble their efforts at bringing Southampton’s Adam Lallana to the club.
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