Ernesto Valverde can't rule out Ivan Rakitic departure as Neymar talk continues

Sport360 staff 10:58 10/08/2019
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Ernesto Valverde has conceded he does not know whether Ivan Rakitic will stick around for Barcelona’s 2019/20 campaign.

Rakitic will go down as one of Barca’s finest pieces of transfer business, having enjoyed a starring role at Camp Nou ever since signing for a bargain £16.2m from Sevilla in 2014.

But the Croatian – who scored the opening goal against Juventus in the 2015/16 Champions League final victory – may now be coming to the end of his Blaugrana career.

It is thought that the 31-year-old may be used as a countweight in Barca’s bid to bring Neymar back to Spain, while there is also reported interest from Italy.

And while Barca boss Valverde still values Rakitic, he admits to having doubt over whether his long-term future lies in Catalonia.

“He’s very important for us,” said Valverde, according to Marca. “His work is there. Right now I don’t know if he’ll stay, but I’m counting on him, as I am with everyone we have.

“In principle, nothing makes me think I won’t have him.”

It has been a busy summer at Camp Nou even if Barca do not land Neymar, having added France star Antoine Griezmann, left-back Junior Firpo, Ajax man Frenkie De Jong and back-up keeper Neto to their stocks.

“I’m always happy with the players I have,” Valverde added “They’re very good. Even last year we almost had a perfect season.

“Now we’ve made four important additions and we have to try to improve.”

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