Inter sporting director refuses to deny interest in Ivan Rakitic

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JANUARY 30: Ivan Rakitic of Barcelona shows little emotion after scoring his sides second goal against his former team during the Copa del Rey Quarter Final second leg match between FC Barcelona and Sevilla FC at Nou Camp on January 30, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Sporting director Piero Ausilio refused to deny Inter Milan’s reported interest in unsettled Barcelona star Ivan Rakitic.

The 30-year-old midfielder has been a key member of the Barcelona squad since 2014 after completing a transfer from fellow La Liga side Sevilla.

Rakitic has since managed 33 goals and 33 assists in 247 appearances in the Barcelona midfield alongside greats such as Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta.

But changes at Barcelona are beginning to happen with the club beginning to invest in new young stars such as Arthur Melo, who joined from Brazilian side Gremio in an initial €31m deal last summer, in a bid to rebuild their squad for the future.

Ajax midfielder Frenkie De Jong will arrive at Camp Nou at the end of the season to complete his €75m transfer.

Due to this, Rakitc’s future has been in doubt with his attempts at convincing the club board of awarding him a new contract being unsuccessful so far.

This has led to speculation over a surprise move to Inter this, despite Rakitic insisting he wishes to remain at Barcelona.

And now Ausilio refused to shut down the rumours over Inter making a possible move for the Croatia international.

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“Rakitic? You speak about that… We don’t speak about next season’s team,” Ausilio told DAZN.

“Right now we’re only thinking about how our current players can improve in the best way possible. We will think about other things in the future.”

Reports in Italy suggest that Inter are willing to pay Barcelona up to €90m to sign Rakitic at the end of the season, despite his buy-out clause being at €120m.

The World Cup finalist has scored four goals and added six assists in 33 appearances for Barcelona across all competitions this term.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding his future, Rakitic remains an integral part of the squad and will be eyeing up a place in the line-up for tonight’s La Liga game against Athletic Bilbao.

The match at the San Mames will begin at 8:45 PM (CET).