According to Mundo Deportivo, Tottenham Hotspur are leading Juventus, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla in the race to sign Ivan Rakitic. The FC Barcelona midfielder will be available in the market this summer as the Catalans are unwilling to let him go for free next season. The Premier League is the preferred destination for Rakitic, for sporting and economic reasons, giving Spurs the upper hand.
Why Rakitic is a massive coup for Tottenham
The potential arrival of Rakitic will serve as a massive boost for Tottenham Hotspur for multiple reasons. Following the departure of Mousa Dembele, the Lilywhites have always missed the presence of a genuine ball-carrier.
Tanguy Ndombele was signed from Olympique Lyonnais to fill in the shoes of his Belgian counterpart. But, the midfielder has failed to live up to the expectations. In fact, he has already been linked with a move away from north London, with Barcelona reportedly interested in his services.
This is where Rakitic comes into the fray. The Croatian international is a genuine ball-carrier – someone who can keep hold of the ball and wriggle through tight spaces. He can also distribute possession all around the park and is very proficient when it comes to set-pieces.
Hence, the 32-year-old could become a prime source of creativity in midfield – something Tottenham have lacked following the departure of Christian Eriksen. Also, Rakitic has vast experience at the highest level of football, having made 299 competitive appearances with FC Barcelona. He has also won over 100 caps for the Croatian national team.
Meanwhile, it is also fair to point out that the ex-Schalke starlet is one of the most successful midfielders in world football, having won one Champions League title and four Spanish league titles among many other accolades. Most of all, he played a key role in helping Croatia sensationally reach the final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which is indicative of his leadership.
Here is how Rakitic will fit into Spurs
Tactically, the most obvious option for Jose Mourinho would be to deploy Rakitic alongside Harry Winks in the double-pivot of a 4-2-3-1 formation. The presence of two dynamic midfielders is sure to tighten their second line of the press while significantly improving their overall ball retention.
In a more ambitious tactic, Mourinho could follow the Barcelona method by employing a 4-3-3, with Rakitic and Dele Alli (or Giovani Lo Celso) operating as two advanced midfielders. At the same time, the front trio will consist of Steven Bergwijn, Son Heung-Min and Harry Kane.
Or better yet, the Portuguese mastermind could opt for a flooded midfield setup, in a pendulating three-man defensive formation. Rakitic’s ability to play in between the lines should bode well for the wing-backs, thus improving the club’s transition and counter-attacking prowess – something that was prevalent under Mauricio Pochettino.
But in any case, Rakitic, with all his experience, talent and leadership, could prove to be a massive asset for Tottenham Hotspur. His presence in the side could undoubtedly be critical in the club’s future within the coming years, although it remains to be seen whether or not the Lilywhites can really secure his services this summer.