The dilemma surrounding Rakitic: do Barça sell him in the summer?

The Croatian is the clear candidate to be sold this summer in order to balance the books, but his fine performances have made the club have second thoughts

Rakitic dio la puntilla a la liga con una picada sobre Courtois y otra victoria en el Bernabéu | LALIGA

Sergi Capdevila

Some would say it's a great problem to have whereas others would claim it's creating a huge distraction. What is clear is that Ivan Rakitic's season is one you could laminate, take to a photograph shop and frame it for the world to see. The Croatian's performance in El Clasico was sensational and it's been a common theme throughout his time at the Camp Nou. A few months ago it was suggested he could be sold to balance the books with Frenkie De Jong set to arrive in the summer. Now, it doesn't appear such a simple decision.

FUNDAMENTAL FOR VALVERDE

This has created a dilemma inside the club. The boardroom feel it's time to sell some players in order to free up funds for other areas of the squad which need strengthening. After signing De Jong for €80m, the most obvious solution was to cash in on Rakitic due to the interest from Europe's biggest clubs. He turns 31 this month and would fetch anywhere between €60m and €70m. PSG even went as far as to offer €90m last summer. The French club needs to overhaul its own midfield but that interest disappeared when Valverde made it clear he wanted Rakitic to stay.

A HERO WITHOUT A CAPE

That's because Rakitic is the typical player who remains in the background, never makes headlines or wins the man of the match award. However his contribution is vital to the time and helps those stars shine. If Arthur is keen behind retaining the club's style and to control matches, Ivan has the same role and much more. He helped Sergi Roberto keep Vinicius quiet down Barça's right hand side. Alongside the magnificent Gerard Pique, the Brazilian had no chance.

However he doesn't simply get back to help out in defence as he's also capable of getting forward and breaking into that second line of attack. Nearly all of Barça's attacks went through the blonde maestro, who can also threaten from long range too. And it was one of those forward runs which saw him grab the only goal of the contest thanks to a lovely ball from Sergi Roberto.

Pie de foto | AUTOR FOTO

His contract runs until 2021 and that means a decision has to be made. If he continues at the club, which is what Valverde and the majority of the club wants, he'll ask for a pay rise. That is what the club were faced with in the case of Jordi Alba too. Inter and PSG will be able to offer more than Barça. Mourinho is also a huge fan of the midfielder who he feels doesn't get the respect and praise he truly deserves. If Barça aren't willing to match his terms then the option of selling him is obvious, especially with his market value being so high.

De Jong will arrive in the summer and hope to occupy the role Rakitic currently has. Ideally the Dutch man plays on the right of a midfield three but he could also go on to replace Busquets. Coupled with the rise of Carles Aleña and Riqui Puig, the Croatian might be seen as 'blocking' the La Masia duos route to regular first team football.

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