Sevilla midfielder Ivan Rakitic, a 25-year-old central midfielder formerly of FC Basel, Schalke 04, has reiterated his loyalty to the Andalusian outfit whilst maintaining his ambitions for the season are to secure European football for his team.
Contract negotiations have stalled between Rakitic and Sevilla, as the player's current deal expires next summer, prompting speculation that the club may cash in on their prolific chance creator, as he has attracted much Premier League interest and is reportedly on the shortlist of targets for Manchester United manager David Moyes and Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers.
'We are getting closer, but I'm not in a hurry as I still have a year and a half left and there's nothing to worry about,' commented Rakitic on his contract situation when speaking to Diario de Sevilla. 'I saw the other day, I don't know how many millions they were supposed to be offering me [but] the club's budget is not the same as it was five years ago.
'I understand this, I do not want nor could I get up to what [Frederic] Kanoute and [Alvaro] Negredo were earning as that was a different time. It's not about money, if I feel good I assure you that the number one [club for me] is Sevilla.'
Rakitic has impressed throughout the current La Liga campaign as he has been responsible for ten goals and nine assists from 20 appearances - a strike efficiency of a goal/assist once every 95 minutes he is on the field. He has also created 52 chances and is dispossessed, on average, just once every 138 minutes.
Currently seventh in the Primera Division table with 31 points collected after 22 matchdays, Sevilla have lost a bit of ground in their pursuit for fourth and a passage into the Champions League next season. While his contentment with Los Rojiblancos is one reason he may spur any advances from United or Liverpool, he may not elect to switch allegiances unless the aforementioned English clubs have secured fourth spot in the Premier League themselves.
'The most important thing is the sporting side, we may have lost ground on fourth place, but personally I am calm. The group is working very well, we have put in an enormous amount of work and the most important thing is to play in Europe.'
On the United and Liverpool speculation, he added: 'Is it better to be playing there than at Sevilla? You think so? They are teams you can dream of playing for, but the important thing is to feel happy. For me the most important thing is that the club is happy, if one day they come to me and say 'Ivan, now is the moment [to transfer]' it would be different.
'Here everybody is happy, supporting me and in the end we will decide together.'
image: © eslee82