Inter close in on €50m deal for Barcelona star Rakitic

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The Serie A side are on the verge of completing a move for the Croatian midfielder, who will bring to an end a five-year spell with the Liga giants

Inter are closing in on securing a €50 million (£43m/$56m) move for Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic, Goal understands.

The Serie A side, who have been following Rakitic for a while now, are desparate to pull themselves closer to Juventus in the 2019-20 season and want to put together a team that's capable of mounting a title challenge.

The Croatian is seen as a key part of that ambition, while, as reported by Goal, Antonio Conte is also being lined up to replace Luciano Spalletti as head coach.

The Nerazzurri have been in talks with the former Chelsea boss and are prepared to offer him a lucrative contract to take over at San Siro.

Rakitic will bring an end to a trophy-laden five years at Barca, whom he joined from Sevilla back in 2014, having won four Liga titles, four Copas del Rey and one Champions League, amongst other team and personal accolades.

He could yet add another Copa del Rey title to his collection, should Barca beat Valencia in this year's final on May 25.

The 31-year-old became a mainstay in the Barca starting XI alongside the likes of Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta, prior to his departure to Vissel Kobe at the end of last season.

The signing of Rakitic will demonstrate a huge signal of intent by Inter as they look to significantly cut the gap to Juve, who have already secured their eighth Serie A title in a row.

With just three games to go in Italy's top-flight this season, the Nerazzurri are fourth in the table, a massive 26 points behind Massimiliano Allegri's side, but remain on course for a spot in next season's Champions League.

Intriguingly, Barca rejected an offer close to €100 million (£86m/$112m) from Paris Saint-Germain last summer for Croatia international Rakitic, although the club's stance has seemingly changed over his importance to them going forward.

The Liga champions possess the likes of Sergio Busquets, Arthur Melo and Arturo Vidal in that area of the pitch, while big things are expected of 21-year-old midfielder Carles Alena.

There will also be the arrival of Ajax star Frenkie de Jong in the summer, with Barca feeling they could cash in on Rakitic as they look to raise funds to improve other areas of the squad.

Matthijs de Ligt, another of the Dutch side's heroes in their run to the Champions League semi-final, remains on the Catalan club's radar, although there is stiff competition from a number of Europe's top clubs for the centre-back.

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Regarding other potential outgoings, there have long been question marks over the future of Philippe Coutinho and despite his desire to stay, he could well be moved on with the Barca hierarchy still willing to listen to offers.

Samuel Umtiti is another who could leave, with Barca prepared to sell should the right bid come in in the summer.

 

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