Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic, who has long been linked with Manchester United, is reportedly set to move to their rivals Manchester City

Croatian publication Jutarnji List have claimed that Barcelona maestro Ivan Rakitic is on the radar of Manchester City. The midfield general has been long linked with a move to Manchester United. But as per the latest updates, the Citizens might be set to beat their neighbours and rivals to the player.

Ivan Rakitic is a 28-year-old Croatian international who has become a key player at Nou Camp since making the move from Sevilla in July, 2014 in an €18 million transfer. The maestro has since amassed 142 appearances in the Blaugrana shirt, with a return of 16 goals and 30 assists to show for his efforts.

Rakitic’s current deal is set to expire in 2019 and there has been speculation as to the Croatian’s future. The player has seen his game time reduced this season, with the arrival of other midfield prospects in Andre Gomes and Denis Suarez, which has prompted Luis Enrique to often drop the Croatian to the bench.

Rakitic has been linked to Manchester United at large, as Jose Mourinho seeks the perfect player to take over the role of midfield general from Michael Carrick, who is well into the twilight years of his footballing career. The player was even speculated to reject the advances of many Premier League clubs in the summer, with Manchester United being one of the parties.

Looks set for a departure from Nou Camp. (Picture Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images)
Looks set for a departure from Nou Camp. (Picture Courtesy – AFP/Getty Images)

And his diminished role in the first-team setup for Barcelona has fuelled speculation of an impending exit from the club. It is speculated that Rakitic is unhappy with Luis Enrique’s man management and is ready to quit the club for a more enterprising move, possibly to the Premier League.

However, he may be heading towards the blue half of Manchester instead of the red – or so the latest report iterates. Manchester City are eyeing a replacement for Yaya Toure, whose importance has been highlighted in the recent weeks after he provided many match-winning contributions for the Citizens.

But Guardiola wants a player who can replace Yaya Toure and reportedly partner the likes of Fernandinho and David Silva in the middle of the park. And he sees the Barcelona man as the perfect player for the role. And when you look at the semantics, the move does make sense.

Rakitic has a sense of the kind of football Guardiola wants to play, having spent more than a couple of seasons at Barcelona. Add to it, the Croatian’s passing range and vision, and the 28-year-old looks like the perfect addition to perhaps any top Premier League side.

Whether Manchester United will allow their neighbours a clear run in on Ivan Rakitic remains to be seen. The report states that the player is close to a move to the Etihad but the transfer is still not complete, which gives United a tiny window to work towards hijacking the deal.

Whether United end up hijacking the deal or not, Ivan Rakitic looks set to move to Manchester, be it the red or the blue half.

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