Barcelona star Ivan Rakitic turned down offers from Manchester United, Chelsea and Juventus during the summer transfer window to remain at the Nou Camp, according to Mundo Deportivo. The revelations come just after club president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, revealed the Catalans were ready to hand the Croatian international a new long-term deal.
The 28-year-old midfielder moved to the La Liga giants in the summer of 2014 after an impressive spell at Sevilla. He was expected to become the long-term replacement for Xavi Hernandez at the Nou Camp and Barcelona agreed to pay €20m (£16.8m, $22.3m) to complete his signing, beating stiff competition from some Premier League clubs including Liverpool and United.
Rakitic has since become a crucial player for manager Luis Enrique, forming a talented midfield partnership with Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets. He has made 112 appearances for Barcelona, scoring 18 goals, including a decisive goal in the 3-1 Champions League final victory over Juventus in the 2014-2015 campaign.
However, earlier in the summer his future at Barcelona came under some scrutiny after the club re-signed Denis Suarez from Villarreal and broke the bank for Andre Gomes from Valencia, adding competition to a midfield which also had the likes of Rafinha Alcantara, Sergi Roberto and Arda Turan.
Mundo Deportivo claimed in a front cover splash that Manchester United, Chelsea and Juventus had approached Rakitic to tempt him to leave the Nou Camp with "important offers".
The Italian giants were the first to make an approach as they looked to sign a replacement for Paul Pogba aware that the French international was on his way out of Serie A. United and Chelsea joined the race later as Mourinho and Conte also wanted to bolster their midfield. The Portuguese boss has since signed both Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan while the Blues got the services of N'Golo Kante from Leicester City.
Mundo Deportivo claimed that Rakitic's agent, Arturo Canales, informed Barcelona about the offers but both the player and the club decided that the Croatian was not for sale.
As a reward, Barcelona are ready to hand a pay rise to Rakitic despite still being under contract at the Nou Camp until 2019. Bartomeu revealed that the club will be holding talks with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Ivan Rakitic in the coming months to commit their long-term future to the Nou Camp with new deals.