Manchester United are looking to sign Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic this summer as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer prepares to overhaul his squad during the off-season.
The Norwegian coach wants upwards of five signings and is targeting at least one new midfielder to replace Ander Herrera, who leaves Old Trafford on a free transfer, while there are also doubts over the future of Paul Pogba.
According to the Daily Record, United have set their sights on Rakitic and are pushing to secure a quick agreement for the experienced midfielder.
Although the Croatian has enjoyed five hugely successful seasons at Camp Nou, Barca are looking to sell him to raise funds for their own rebuild, while Rakitic’s game time will be reduced significantly anyway by the arrival of Frenkie de Jong.
The Catalan club will nevertheless demand a big fee for Rakitic, and have slapped a €55million (£48m) price tag on him.
United will look to get the fee down closer to £30m and Solskjaer is keen to bring in Rakitic to provide experience and know-how in midfield, especially in light of Herrera’s decision not to renew his contract.
Somewhat ironically, axed United boss Jose Mourinho tried to sign Rakitic previously and is a huge fan of the midfielder, believing he deserves far more credit than he receives.
‘I have wanted to say this for a long, long time. For me, Rakitic is one of the most underrated players in the world,’ Mourinho told beIN Sports earlier this year.
‘He’s a fantastic player at every level. He does defensive work to complement Messi and runs miles. In ball possession, he is fantastic, he is simple, he is effective.
‘He is one of the most underrated players. So, I want to finish by saying that, because normally we speak about the big names. For me, Rakitic needs to improve his Instagram and social media because in this moment this is very important and he’s not very good on that, but he’s very good on the pitch!’