Former Barcelona ace Andres Iniesta has warned the Catalan giants that they could be making a mistake if they allowed Ivan Rakitic to leave the Nou Camp.
As noted by Sport, speculation is rife over the Croatian stalwart’s future with the reigning La Liga champions as he has fallen down the pecking order under coach Ernesto Valverde this season.
Rakitic has been limited to just nine appearances across all competitions, but the major issue is that the majority of those outings have come off the bench as he appears to have lost his place in the starting XI.
It comes after he’s made over 50 appearances in each campaign he’s been with Barcelona since joining them in 2014 from Sevilla, and so it remains to be seen whether or not Valverde is simply now moving on to longer-term options or will call upon Rakitic as the season progresses.
There is no doubt in Iniesta’s mind though on what Barcelona should do, as he has insisted that they would potentially be making a mistake if they sold Rakitic.
“I would not let him go, he is a great player,” he told Marca, as quoted by Mundo Deportivo. “What he has been doing during all this time has been magnificent. This year he is not having the prominence he had before but that does not mean that he isn’t a great player.”
Time will tell if that’s a stance that Barcelona agree on, although if Valverde doesn’t change his approach and fails to give Rakitic more playing time between now and January or perhaps the end of the season, the player himself could push for an exit in order to secure a more prominent role elsewhere.
In turn, it remains to be seen if Barcelona move him on, and while Iniesta does make a valid point, they do have the likes of Arthur and Frenkie de Jong coming through now to act as long-term replacements for the more senior individuals in the squad and they need playing time to develop further.