Barcelona never considered Rakitic sale, insists sporting director

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Barcelona never had any desire to sell Ivan Rakitic in pre-season despite reports to the contrary, according to the club’s sporting director Pep Segura.

Rakitic played a starring role as Croatia reached the World Cup final at Russia 2018, and his performances prompted apparent interest from some other big clubs.

Paris Saint-Germain were reported to be particularly keen on the 30-year-old, with speculation suggesting they were willing to trigger his €125million release clause.

There were even murmurings of Barca being open to selling the midfielder given his age and the fact he was criticised for some below-par performances last season.

Segura is adamant such claims were nonsense, though he conceded Rakitic did have an offer from a club outside of La Liga.

“We did not contemplate his exit,” Segura told Sport. “We knew that he had an option from a foreign club, but we had no interest in him going.

“In Spanish football, there’s a complex weapon with the release clauses. We’re the only league with [mandatory] release clauses and the danger [that the clauses are triggered] is there, but neither the club nor player wanted him to leave.”

One player who arrived at Camp Nou in the transfer window was Malcom, who Barca pipped Roma to the signing of.

But since his €41m switch from Bordeaux, the Brazilian has featured just twice in La Liga – both times as a substitute.

Some fans are concerned after coach Ernesto Valverde said he was the club’s signing, seemingly insinuating the 21-year-old winger was not a player he asked for.

“Nothing [is wrong with Malcom] – he’s young,” Segura added. “We signed him because he has talent.

“Now he’s not getting minutes, but there’s no problem with [the] staff or anyone. He will have minutes because the season is long.

“Ernesto is also a person at the club. All the decisions are taken together. Valverde never said that in the sense you interpret it.

“He has the maximum respect for all the players and would never take steps to break the equilibrium in the dressing room.”

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