Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic has said he has every intention of renewing his contract in Catalunya...but if he can't, then he wouldn't say no to a return to Sevilla.
Rakitic has been flirting with a move all season, and though his line since December has been that he is keen to stay and fight for his place, the subtext has always suggested that he is unhappy with his diminished role in the team, and privately intent on leaving when the summer window opens.
Prior to the Covid-19 hiatus, the 32-year-old had started just ten of Barça's 27 La Liga matches as he approaches the final year of his contract. As much as he admits he has been unhappy at times, however, the Croatian insisted he is not looking to the exit door just yet.
Rakitić: “I will decide my future. I don’t want to be used as currency, I’m not a sack of potatoes” pic.twitter.com/zB88n5C8mE— TalkFCB (@FCBNewsRoom) April 12, 2020
"I had a very strange first part of the season, very uncomfortable and surprising for me, but from there I have to learn several things and improve. Sometimes things happen that you do not understand, but you should not understand but accept them.
"Hopefully I can finish this contract year. If it can't be, we'll sit down, but now the most important thing is to be on top and finish the season in the best possible way. Then everything will be analysed, but my idea is to end that contract."
But there is no smoke without fire as they say, and as far as Rakitic's future goes, there has been plenty of smoke. Manchester United and Atletico Madrid have recently been linked, and recent reports have suggested that Sevilla are circling over a return six years after his €14m move to Camp Nou.
Barça are said to want €20m to secure his services.
"I have a special affection for Seville, but directly to the city, I have my family there," he said, when asked about those rumours. "I have always said that it would be a great dream to wear that shirt again, everyone knows it, but it is not my own decision, if I want it or not, it has more things behind.
"[Sporting director] Monchi and everyone in Seville has my phone, they haven't called me yet and recently it was my birthday and Monchi didn't call me! It is something that everyone knows, from my feeling."