CHELSEA PLOTTING SUMMER MOVE FOR BARCELONA MIDFIELDER

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According to reports from Spain, Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic has emerged as a summer transfer target for Chelsea.

Spanish media outlet Sport claim the £65million acquisition of Frenkie de Jong from Ajax, who would join Barca at the end of the season, could see the Croatian international fall down the midfield pecking order at the Nou Camp and the Blues view the 30-year-old as the ideal replacement for Cesc Fabregas, who joined Monaco in January.

Sport also claim Premier League rivals Manchester United and Arsenal are also interested in signing the 30-year-old midfielder.

Barcelona reportedly received a huge offer from Paris Saint-Germain for the midfielder last summer but Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde convinced him to remain in Spain. Rakitic is an important player for Valverde and plays nearly all the time but it is believed that will change following the signing of De Jong from Ajax.

Barcelona also expect to sign PSG midfielder Adrien Rabiot in the summer and that will leave their midfield overpopulated, meaning Barcelona will be willing to listen to offers for Rakitic.

Despite reports linking him with an exit, Rakitic has insisted he wants to remain at Barcelona and is hopeful of agreeing a new contract with the reigning La Liga champions.

“I want to be here and, if I can renew, be here for many more years,” Rakitic told Mundo Deportivo.

“I am very happy here, everyone knows that, above all the president. I do not have to say anything else.”

Pressed on whether the imminent arrival of De Jong could impact on his future, Rakitic added: “That’s a good question for the manager or for the president.

“People who know me know that I just want to play. I will face all challenges calmly and with much desire.

“I am 30 years old and in the best moment of my career. I want to enjoy my football and being at Barca.

“I want to be here and, if possible, renew and be here for more years. But first of all, enjoy a great season and win many titles.”

Rakitic is in his fifth season at Barcelona after joining from Sevilla in 2014. He is closing in on 250 appearances for the Spanish club and have won major honours with Barcelona which includes three La Liga titles, four Copa del Rey successes, a Champions League crown and Club World Cup triumph.

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OTONY
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