Valverde 'counting on' Rakitic amid PSG links

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Barcelona boss is hoping to keep "fundamental" World Cup star as Paris Saint-Germain reportedly circle.

Ivan Rakitic is one of Barcelona's best players and should not be allowed to leave, according to head coach Ernesto Valverde.

Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly lining up a €90million bid for the 30-year-old midfielder, who was a key part of the Croatia side that reached the World Cup final this summer.

Barca will not be short on options if the former Sevilla man does leave, with new signings Arthur and Arturo Vidal expected to contribute in midfield this season along with Sergi Roberto, who is a product of the club's famous youth system.

Valverde, however, is adamant Rakitic is too valuable an asset to be lost from his starting XI.

"Ivan is a fundamental player for our club. We're counting on him, I certainly am," the Blaugrana boss said.

"I want the best players for the season and Rakitic is one of my best. He knows how we play and he's fully committed to the club, so of course, my idea is for him to be here.

"Look at his statistics. We all know what he does for the team but just as we analyse players from other teams, other teams analyse our players.

"But I hope he stays here, there is no doubt about that."

Barca do have time to pursue a potential replacement for Rakitic with the transfer window still open in Spain until the end of August.

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Valverde hopes that situation will soon change, expressing a desire for the deadline to be brought forward in line with changes made in England and Italy.

"I think that would make sense and in the long run I think that's what we need to do," he said.

"I'm sure the same will eventually happen with LaLiga."

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