Ivan Rakitic – Another bench warmer for Barcelona?
Well, it is increasingly becoming obvious that Barcelona just do not want to keep star man Cesc Fabregas who was perennially the understudy for Xavi and Iniesta. Fabregas’ Barcelona DNA finally looked mutated for the club as Fabregas was way different from pass master Xavi. In a team that has a philosophy of making the ball do the work, probably Cesc was just too all action, and suited the Premier League.
But the recent transfer of Ivan Rakitic is a mysterious deal to say the least. Rakitic is an attacking playmaker who has had one of his best seasons in Sevilla and has also made it into the La Liga Team of the Season. Yet, his play is also way different in comparison to Xavi. And there is no way he is going to displace the ageing Spanish star from the line-up so soon. Rakitic seems like a replacement for Fabregas and not for Xavi, and would eventually be a benchwarmer whom the manager would not feel too obliged to introduce on the pitch unlike prodigal son Fabregas.
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Ivan Rakitic, a player who would benefit almost any club in the world with his style of play, probably would be one of the many talented players in Barcelona. Rakitic’s main position is as an attacking midfielder who can also play deeper. His defensive contribution is also strong as he works very hard on the pitch. What Rakitic has in contrast to Fabregas is that he isn’t a mixture of the Barca DNA and the Premier League. Barcelona are probably the only club in the league that have a tendency of playing one pass too many, something which Fabregas ended up doing while trying to adjust. On paper, Cesc had absolute chemistry with his Spanish team-mates but he was more often a substitute for Iniesta or Messi, with both these players being the best in their position in the world!
Rakitic will be the guy who has purely earned his credentials as a La Liga player and with a comparatively lower profile than Fabregas, he would also bring a huge level of humility and ethics to the team which would look to start afresh under their new manager Luis Enrique. Would Rakitic add extra quality to the Barcelona team currently? Certainly not. With due respect to the Croatian midfielder, he would still be a top player who would yet be considered a level under that of departing man Fabregas.
The only reasonable argument of bringing Rakitic to the club would be for a consistent substitute player, who knows the pace of the league. It would be a sin to have Rakitic as a pinch player and not a sure starter but in a club like Barcelona, there is no way he would make it as a regular first choice. As for the problem in central midfield, Xavi’s ageing would certainly be an issue that Luis Enrique will have to deal with as Barca are struggling in central midfield as the passes are getting too slow.
Koke can be more useful for Barca
Here we come with another target that Barca have been looking at, and that is Atletico Madrid’s Koke who has a similar playing style as Xavi’s. Koke works his socks off and has a penchant for key passes and chance creation, which would make him tailor-made for Barcelona. But Koke’s transfer may not be possible until the World Cup ends, and the midfielder may even choose to stay at his club where he just won the league title.
And in this case where Barca would miss Koke’s transfer, they would be forced to play Iniesta deeper than usual to quicken up the passes and bring in Rakitic to play ahead. Rakitic has one key attribute here, that he can play well defensively as well. He has gained enough experience of tracking back in Sevilla that makes Barcelona sure of his contribution behind the ball. So another possible reason for Rakitic’s transfer would be that Barca want a change in their team. With players like the Croatian, Barcelona may not be just a pass machine team, but a team that would have some directness.
Reason 1: Rakitic can be a substitute player for Iniesta and others, and would also offer a much more identified style of attacking with a bit of directness. He is also not a mixture of two styles like Cesc and would not be ultra-pressurised to play the Barcelona way.
Reason 2: Rakitic would be a good work horse for the team if they need to rest Xavi. Rakitic surely adds the legs and the dynamism in the midfield whenever he plays.
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