Late last night suddenly everyone was aware of a certain Croatian newspaper after it published an article saying Ivan Rakitic was on the verge of joining Manchester City. It seemed to fit perfectly as he was left out of the squad by Barcelona for their match against Villarreal. In fact, he hasn’t featured since El Clasico which was at the beginning of December and was an unused sub in the other two matches.
This has lead people to believe there can’t be smoke without fire. After the game both Barcelona’s vice president and Luis Enrique said that Rakitic wasn’t there due to his rotation policy – although that doesn’t quite explain Rakitic not featuring in the last three games. ‘Mundo Deportivo‘ say they’ve spoken to the player’s agent, Arturo Canales, and he assures them “there’s nothing at all” to the story in Croatia. But people aren’t convinced.
‘MARCA‘ claim negotiations between the player and Barcelona have stalled. They aren’t even close to agreeing new terms about the contract length or his basic salary demands. They claim Rakitic’s camp are confident of extending his stay at the club, his current deal runs until 2019, but for Barcelona there are more pressing renovations they want to get sorted out first.
Valencia might have lost a manager and their director of football in recent weeks but they’re still pushing ahead with transfer business according to ‘Plaza Deportiva‘. It appears the deal to bring Simone Zaza to the club is practically done but Peter Lim is a big fan of Jese Rodriguez, also a target for Las Palmas and Liverpool, and could make a loan move for him instead.
Suso Garcia Pitarch, who quit his post as director of football at Valencia a few days ago, secured the Zaza deal as his parting gift to the club. All parties have agreed terms but Lim’s interest in Jese could throw a spanner in the works. While Zaza is on ‘stand by’, Valencia hope to convince Jese to snub interest from Las Palmas and sign for Los Che. Valencia could cover his wages, something Las Palmas can’t, which might be more appealing to PSG.
Gustavo Poyet has spoken of his time at Real Betis and said it was “the worst experience of my career”. The quotes, picked up by ‘MARCA‘, are quite damning on the club and the expectations the fans have. He said his memories of Betis when he was younger were totally different to the reality he faced when he arrived. “It was a strange situation with a lot of nerves and a lot of division. Very aggressive.”
He later goes on to accept responsibility for the part he played but “the conditions for the players to play well weren’t given” and it was better to end [the relationship]. “I left disillusioned and hurt.” This all sounds very ‘I’m rubber and you’re glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you’. Poyet can blame certain factors for it not working out but no one made him bench two of the best youngsters at the club and use their talismanic striker as a winger.
Speaking of Real Betis, they are interested in Federico Fernandez at Swansea City, so say ‘Estadio Deportivo‘. The central defender could be moved on to free up funds for Swansea to sign Andrea Ranocchia, a personal favourite of new coach Paul Clement. The biggest problem, and it’s quite significant, is that Betis could only offer a loan with a view to a permanent switch in the summer. This might not be enough to convince Swansea.
Sevilla are set to sign Leonel Vangioni from Milan, initially on loan, according to ‘Orgullo de Nervion‘. The left back is seen as the ideal candidate to give Sergio Escudero a rest and if he impresses could join on a permanent deal in the summer. The continued absence of Benoit Tremoulinas through injury means Sevilla are lacking options at left back and Vangioni will be given a chance to prove his worth.
Another potential new face at Sevilla this January is Stevan Jovetic. The Inter Milan forward is way down the pecking order at the fallen giants and could even be fined for some of his comments in recent days. “I’m not happy. I’ve worked hard, I’ve been ready to play but I’ve never been given the opportunity.” A move to Sevilla would also be initially on loan and, according to ‘Estadio Deportivo’, the ball is firmly in Inter’s court as the player and Sevilla are ready to sign off the deal.