Barcelona are reportedly ready to beat Liverpool and Manchester United to signing Ivan Rakitic next summer, having earmarked the Sevilla star as Xavi's long-term replacement.
The 25-year-old midfielder is proving to be a sensation in Spain. He has scored 10 goals and grabbed nine assists in 20 domestic league appearances, and in January was named La Liga's player of the month.
The Croatian international has only 18 months remaining on his current contract at Sevilla and a number of European big clubs are keen on signing him next summer – with Liverpool, United and Chelsea all linked with the player in recent months.
Yet according to local newspaper Viva Sevilla, Barcelona have joined the race to sign the talented midfielder as manager Gerardo Martino is already looking for a replacement for the 34-year-old Xavi.
Rakitic received major offers to leave the club last January but reports in Spain claim that he agreed to stay at Sevilla until the end of the season on the condition that he can leave in the summer.
His agent is currently negotiating a new deal with Sevilla to reduce his £33m release clause, to facilitate his exit at the end of the season.
According to the reports, Barcelona have already approached the player and it looks like Rakitic will be keen on moving to the Nou Camp, having recently suggested that "the Catalans are still the best side in the world."
A Liverpool scout was spotted last December watching him closely against Villarreal, with the Croatian notching two assists, while Jose Mourinho has been monitoring him since his tenure at Real Madrid.
Manchester United manager David Moyes has already tried to sign Rakitic when he was at Everton, and is keen on signing him for United to bolster the midfield, having failed to sign Ander Herrera and Cesc Fabregas last summer.