Ivan Rakitic: Will the Croatian play-maker leave Barcelona for the English Premier League?

Ivan Rakitic has a contract with Barcelona which will expire in 2019 but rumors are rife that the Croatian will be leaving Camp Nou for bigger challenges in the English Premier League.

Manchester United and Manchester City are among his likely destinations.

Notwithstanding his 20 goals credit and a total of 129 appearances for the Spanish giants, Rakitic was left as an unused substitute during Barca’s match against Villarreal on 8 January.

He played his last game for La Blaugranas during in last December’s El Clasico match.

Luis Enrique, the club’s coach, spoke with reporters who questioned the midfielder’s absence after their 1-1 draw with Villarreal, saying, “It’s up to me to decide the squads and the teams. That’s my job.

“What’s been published has nothing to do with that. Only 25 per cent of things are true, be it in the Croatian, Spanish, England, Italian media.”

The 28-year-old footballer has made up his mind to stay at Barca though reports from Croatia say there’s a chance he will move over to the English Premier League before the transfer window closes.

Jordi Mestre, the club’s vice president, was also quoted as saying that they’re “delighted with Rakitic” and busy “negotiating his renewal.”

According to a report from Football Espana, the talented midfielder is more likely to get his contract extended despite widespread rumors that he’s leaving Camp Nou.

The former Sevilla player told reporters in a recent interview that he’d “jump off the bridge for Luis Enrique,” to prove that has no grudges against him, adding that he wants a long term contract with Barca.

In his words: “I want to sit down with the club because I want to renew my contract and stay here for many years,” Rakitic said after Barca’s 1-0 win against Real Sociedad in their Copa del Rey match.

“The manager knows that I’m not happy when I’m not on the pitch, he knows me better than anyone,” he added.

“I have to work really hard to be at my best and be able to show that to the manager. After that he makes the decisions.

“There are more than 20 guys in the squad. We all want to play and we have to understand [if we don’t]. The manager knows I want to play every week and never miss a game.

“I’m not 15. [Luis Enrique] doesn’t have to explain anything to me. The only solution is to work hard and take advantage of each opportunity he gives me. I’m calm because I’m working hard.”