Barcelona reportedly give up chase for €60m United-linked star


Barcelona have reportedly given up trying to sign Atletico Madrid star Koke.

With a number of reports suggesting that at least three Atletico Madrid players are departing this summer, the Spanish champions will be delighted to hear that Barcelona have allegedly given up trying to sign Koke.

The 22-year-old midfielder has been linked with a move away from the Vicente Calderon for much of the season, with Manchester United reportedly interested in him.

Former United boss David Moyes flew over to the Spanish capital to watch him play first-hand, and speculation mounted during the January transfer window that the Red Devils were preparing a huge bid to prise him away.

United are desperate to bolster their midfield ranks, and a player of Koke’s ability is precisely the player they need to help them bring back Champions League football to Old Trafford.

Such a deal, however, never really looked likely and after Koke signed a new contract which increased his release clause to €60 million (£49m), that particular boat had arguably sailed.

Fellow La Liga giants Barcelona, on the other hand, weren’t giving up so easily and the Catalan club pinpointed the Spanish international star as the ideal heir to midfield maestro Xavi.

The Spanish press wrote daily columns linking Koke to a move to Barcelona, yet the Atletico star refuted claims that he was looking for an exit by stressing his desire to stay with Los Rojiblancos.

As such, according to Spanish publication AS, after much thought and hesitation, the Barcelona executives have pulled out on an offer of €50m (£40.5m) and have given up the chase, as they instead look to seal a deal for Sevilla midfielder Ivan Rakitic.

The news will come as a great relief to Atletico boss Diego Simeone, and it may also come as great relief to United should they wish to renew their interest in the not too distant future.

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