Barcelona have made a mistake with Ivan Rakitic
Everyone at Barcelona is justifiably over the moon after the club’s miracle comeback against PSG. Perhaps they should have waited for the euphoria to wear off before making any big contractual decisions. As it stands, the Catalan giants have elected to over commit to midfielder Ivan Rakitic.
In the aftermath of the shocking victory, the club revealed their decision to sign the Croatian to a new deal. Now Rakitic is set to remain with the La Liga giants through the 2021 campaign. It’s a stunning turn of events for a player most people believed would hit the transfer market this summer.
In some respects, I can see why Barcelona would want to hang on to Rakitic. He’s been pretty good for Luis Enrique this season. He isn’t a shining star, but he does a solid job for the club. Locking him up for another season or two would certainly ease the transition of any manager the club elects to hire.
My issue with the deal is that it ties Rakitic to the club for too long. The new contract will take him to 32 years of age. It’s very likely that his performance will dip significantly once he hits 30-years-old. Instead of maximizing his value, Barca have elected to pay him for past performance.
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Keeping Rakitic might also make it more difficult for the club’s new manager to impose his style onto the squad. The Croatian is a nice player, but he’s not everyone’s cup of tea. The man who takes over for Enrique could easily want to improve the athletic and defensive capabilities of his midfield. Rakitic won’t contribute much in either area.
Don’t forget that we’re not talking about a club with unlimited resources here. Barcelona officials have repeatedly sworn that players will need to be sold this summer before new recruits are secured. It’s highly unlikely that Rakitic has signed a new deal if it doesn’t include a significant pay raise. Tying him down for four more years may further limit the club’s transfer activity this summer.
It’s highly unlikely that signing Ivan Rakitic is going to raise the ire of many Barcelona fans given the success they’ve enjoyed this week. Unfortunately, it could come back to haunt the Catalan club as soon as this summer.