Sevilla midfielder Ivan Rakitic started the season as a player everyone knew was pretty good, but would never go out of their way to sign - now he appears to be one of Europe’s most wanted.
Across the continent teams appear to be queuing up for a taste of Rakitic’s sublime midfield wizardry - with Paris Saint-Germain said to be one of the front-runners.
Meanwhile that interest has now spread to the UK. Liverpool and Chelsea have both been linked - while Manchester United have the strongest apparent interest in the player.
However he wouldn’t come cheap. He is the Sevilla captain and talisman. The new president at the La Liga outfit says his €40 million release fee would have to be met for him to go anywhere.
“Rakitic has a year and a half left at Sevilla, but we are going to extend his contract. If anyone is in a hurry to sign him they already know that his release clause is 40 million euros.”
But while his qualities are obvious on the pitch - it seems they extend off of it as well.
He has been making some rather interesting comments this week over the future of Chelsea flop, and one-time dubbed ‘German Messi’, Marko Marin.
The winger is currently on loan at the Sanchez Pizjuan, and recently spoke about his future at the club:
"We have to see how the second half of the season goes on and how I play. At the end of the season, or before, we will see. We will have talks with Chelsea and Sevilla or with other clubs and see what happens…It was very easy to settle in here in Sevilla," Marin added of his time away. "I feel very good here. Everything has been fine. The stadium is nice, the fans [too]. The team is very good as well…I'm very happy here but I love London."
Marin has recently recovered from another hamstring setback - and is popular in Sevilla after his good start to the season - and the comments which seemed to suggest he would return to Chelsea seemed to, at least comically, rile Rakitic.
"Marko is right here. At the gym I said 'bugger, now you want to go? He says not, that he is fine here; he is happy, very comfortable with his peers. Hopefully he will begin to play and show his quality. I trust that if there is a possibility he will continue a long time here."
Sevilla are said to be considering another 12-month extension to the deal.
And it seems that would please their coveted club captain.
image: © eslee82