FC Barcelona are looking to the transfer market to buy an eventual replacement for Ivan Rakitić, according to Diario AS. The Croatian is understood to be on his way out soon, maybe even during the winter. And Barcelona reportedly see Frenkie de Jong as Sergio Busquets’s long-term successor as the defensive midfielder, meaning Barça will be on the market for a central midfielder.
Fabián Ruiz, Rodrigo Bentancur, and Saúl Ñíguez are said to be on the Catalans’ shortlist to plug the hole in midfield.
Ruiz, who plays for Napoli, has been rumored to be tracked by Barça for years, although it is also said Real Madrid are also going to be in for him. That could create a costly bidding war.
Saúl has been reportedly a target for Barcelona for a while now, too, with rumors that the Catalans have worked hard on convincing him to join them at some point. But as things stand, Atlético Madrid would ask for a hefty sum before they’d let him go.
Bentancur is another option, and his name has come up before. In particular, there have been rumors involving some sort of swap involving Rakitić with Juventus. Nothing has really accelerated though, or so it seems.
AS goes on to say that La Masia is struggling to create box-to-box players who could replace the Croatian’s role. Barcelona’s academy has created players of a different profile, such as Riqui Puig and Alex Collado. Spare a thought for Carles Aleñá though, who doesn’t even get a mention in this report...