Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic rejected an offer from Manchester United this summer, according to reports.
The Croatian has impressed many since arriving at the Nou Camp in 2014 through his powerful, composed style in central midfield.
Jose Mourinho made it clear in his first press conference that he intended to bring in a central midfielder to empower Man United’s spine, which ultimately led to the world record signing of Paul Pogba last month.
However, according Football Espana, United, alongside the likes of Juventus and Chelsea, also expressed an interest in bringing the 28-year-old to Old Trafford.
It is clear that Pogba, despite being the final signing of the transfer window, was Mourinho’s top priority this summer. A quick glance at United’s last two games tells a convincing story: that dynamic, imposing style which places emphasis on a fast transition between defence and attack streamlines through the Frenchman. He is, in many ways, the nucleus of this United side, such is the way every passage of play is directed by his tempo.
With this in mind, it is worth acknowledging that Rakitic doesn’t perform this function, and was most likely targeted as someone who compliments – rather than fulfils – the role played by Pogba.
The Croat’s assurance and strength would have undoubtedly precipitated a lethal midfield partnership with the 23-year-old, but with Ander Herrera, Marouane Fellaini, Morgan Schneiderlin, Michael Carrick and even Bastian Schweinsteiger waiting in the ranks, Mourinho is not short of midfield options.