According to a new report by ESPN, Manchester United have enquired about the possibility of signing Barcelona’s midfielder, Ivan Rakitic.
The Red Devils were made known of his availability in the transfer market and since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is desperate for some additions to his midfield, with Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay both out injured, this could be a big scoop for him.
However, it’s also important to note that ESPN emphasise the deal is not yet close as Rakitic’s desire to keep his family in Spain could present a potential stumbling block for the English outfit.
The Croatia international has enjoyed a glowing career and commanded esteemed praise in the process.
This is what a handful of footballing experts have had to say about him…
Mourinho is a certified fan of Rakitic and he’s not afraid to show it. Back when he was still doing punditry for BeIN Sports, the Portuguese manager heaped praise on the midfielder.
Most notably, he called him one of the most underrated players on the planet and emphasised the work he’s doing on the pitch that goes unnoticed in the public eye.
Here’s what he said for BeIN Sports, as quoted by Bleacher Report:
“Before I leave let me tell something, because I want to say this for a long, long time. For me, Rakitic is one of the most underrated players in the world.
“He’s a fantastic player at every level. He does defensive work on the right side to compensate [for Lionel] Messi, he runs miles, in ball possession he’s fantastic, he’s simple, he’s effective.”
Xavi is still held in the highest regard in Barcelona’s pantheon of all-time greats and his words are bound to carry weight in the footballing world.
A couple of years back when he was talking about Luka Modric and Rakitic, Croatia’s two mastermind midfielders, the Spaniard dubbed Blaugrana’s man as one of the best signings in club’s history.
Here’s what he said, as quoted by BarcaBlaugranes:
“They are two of the most complete midfielders in the world, two modern footballers, they have it all.
“Rakitić is one of the best signings Barca have made in their history. Every day he gets better, he knows how to adapt to what the team needs, and in every moment he lives a footballing maturity that is extraordinary.”
Another great testament to Rakitic’s skill comes from a little story his former gaffer Enrique used to tell back in the day. Before he joined Barcelona, the midfielder was playing his football at Sevilla and interestingly enough, Enrique decided to sign him instead of Toni Kroos.
When explaining his choice, he went on to heap praise on the Croatian, emphasising some of his best qualities while citing the very performance that made him choose him instead of the German.
Here’s what he said when speaking to Catalunya Radio, as quoted by BarcaBlaugranes:
“Sevilla’s star marked our best player with such discipline, with such a capacity… then offensively, we all know the characteristics he has. Great runs, passing, ball control, ability to maintain the ball, ability to play the final ball, strategy… he has it all as a player.
“And on top of that, his behaviour at the personal level when you ask about him. And that’s something we always ask before we sign someone: how is he as a person? Because this is key.”
Even though he is now 31 years old, Rakitic is still an excellent squad player who could potentially fill that void in Man United’s midfield and give Solskjaer what he needs.
However, if ESPN’s report is anything to go by, nothing is in the bag just yet.