Spanish club to open talks with Liverpool over Croatian playmaker.
La Liga outfit Sevilla are reportedly willing to negotiate with Liverpool over the transfer of Ivan Rakitic, it has emerged.
The Spanish side had a poor season this year, finishing 9th in La Liga, and are expecting to face the departures of some key players, having already sold winger Jesus Navas to Manchester City for £14.9million. They could also receive a number of offers for top scorer Alvaro Negredo, who is a target for Atletico Madrid.
Rakitic is another of Sevilla’s more impressive players, and has found himself on Liverpool’s radar after scoring 8 goals and providing 10 assists this season. Only big names from the top two, such as Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi, Mesut Ozil, Cesc Fabregas, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo, have created more goals for their team-mates in Spain this year.
Brendan Rodgers was reportedly ready to open with a £12million bid for the Croatian, who has been compared with Luka Modric, and although Sevilla are willing to sell, they may hold out for closer to £16million.
Liverpool will be determined to strengthen their squad this summer after only managing to finish 7th in the Premier League this season. Rodgers has been quoted as saying he believes his team can break into the top four, but he sees his midfield as an area that is in particular need of strengthening before he can do that.
The Reds have arguably lacked a high quality playmaker since Xabi Alonso left the club for Real Madrid in 2009. The Spaniard was one of the best midfielders in England during his time at Anfield, and has proven hard to replace. The likes of Alberto Aquilani, Charlie Adam and Joe Allen have since been brought in to fulfill this role, but all have flopped at the club.
It is thought that Allen will be sold this summer, possibly to newly-promoted Cardiff City, and Rakitic is seen as the ideal player to give Rodgers’ side more creativity from the middle of the park.
Alonso has also been linked with a return from Real Madrid, though he now seems likely to stay at the Bernabeu after committing his future to the club. Chelsea have also shown an interest in the 31-year-old.
Rakitic himself has said he is flattered by Liverpool’s interest, and has suggested he is unhappy with the direction Sevilla are taking after their apparent willingness to offload key players. Although the club will hold out for the right offer, they do not wish to keep an unhappy player.
Liverpool will now consider whether or not to meet Sevilla’s asking price.