Barcelona make contact for €40m Manchester United linked midfielder

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FC Barcelona are reported to have made contact for Ivan Rakitic of Sevilla, tipped as a target for Manchester United.

Manchester United were told exactly what to do if they wanted to follow up reported interest in Ivan Rakitic last month; pay up.

Sevilla's newly installed president Jose Castro told suitors: "Ivan Rakitic? He has one and a half year contract in Seville. We will continue. If someone is in a hurry to recruit, he knows that his clause is €40 million."

Quite bemusingly considering their own central midfield dearth of talent, interest in the 25-year-old Croatian was not followed up on, despite his superb record of 10 goals and 7 assists in 20 La Liga starts this season.

That impressive form has seen none other than Barcelona take an interest in the player whose contract expires in June 2015.

Newspaper Sevilla Live report: "FC Barcelona would be interested in Ivan Rakitic of Sevilla ahead of next season. The captain is in the sweetest moment of his career and at 25-years-old is ready to make the leap to a European giant.

"Sources close to the club say Rakitic would have already been contacted for future incorporation after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil played with (is) Croatia over."

Barcelona lost top spot in the La Liga table last weekend courtesy of a 3-2 defeat to Valencia, which has re-ignited debate over their midfield growing stagnant.

At the centre of debate is Xavi, who last month had to deny he was joining a MLS side, while David Silva of Manchester City has been touted as a replacement.

Rakitic is certainly good enough to play for Barcelona on this month's evidence, but Sevilla are also said to be trying to get him to re-negotiate an extended contract.

Being cynical, this could all be an effort on Rakitic's part and his agent to prompt Sevilla into panicking into giving him a new contract with better terms than he was originally likely to be offered.

Either way, Manchester United at this point look to be at the most, third best in the chase to secure his signature.

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