Ivan Rakitic edges towards Barcelona exit as Atletico Madrid offer terms

Ivan Rakitic

The 31-year-old has a contract at the Camp Nou until June 2021, but has frequently been linked with other clubs this season.

According to Marca (opens in new tab), Atleti (opens in new tab) representatives met with the midfielder on 20 February, two days after their 1-0 Champions League last 16 first leg win over Liverpool (opens in new tab).

Rakitic was informed of their interest, as the capital club look to become his first-choice destination when he leaves Catalunya, which appears likely to happen at the end of the campaign.

It wasn’t the first time contact has been made, as Atletico also reached out at the end of 2019.

One advantage Diego Simeone’s side can count on is that the Croatia international wants to continue playing in La Liga.

The player is said to like Madrid, having looked at a property in the city with his family already, and is keen to continue playing at the top level in Europe.

The Spanish newspaper believes that a deal could hinge on Atleti ensuring they don’t change the terms of the deal they offered Rakitic last month.

Otherwise they risk seeing him stay put at Barcelona (opens in new tab) for another year, before departing on a free transfer in the summer of 2021.

The transfer fee is unlikely to provide a stumbling block, as Barca are willing to sell and won’t request an extortionate figure with just one year left to run on the player’s contract.

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Alasdair Mackenzie is a freelance journalist based in Rome, and a FourFourTwo contributor since 2015. When not pulling on the FFT shirt, he can be found at Reuters, The Times and the i. An Italophile since growing up on a diet of Football Italia on Channel 4, he now counts himself among thousands of fans sharing a passion for Ross County and Lazio.