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Man Utd must pay mega bucks to land top playmaking target

| 21.12.2013

Just like any One Direction song, the subject of Manchester United’s lack of midfield creativity has been given so much air play that everybody, willing or otherwise, knows it inside out.

It’s expected that David Moyes will splash the January cash out of desperation to silence these incessant gripes and he is believed to have made Sevilla man Ivan Rakitic his prime target.

The Croatian international, made club skipper by coach Unai Emery at the start of the season, has been in excellent form this campaign, scoring seven goals and assisting a further five but, as one of the last few leading lights left in their formerly star-studded squad, the Spanish side have no intention of selling.

Potential suitors have been warned that only an offer that matches Rakitic’s release clause, believed to be £33m, will be enough to see him depart Los Rojiblancos this winter.

Such a dizzying price is likely to deter both interested Premier League parties, with Liverpool also thought to be keen on the Croat’s services as they look to cement a place in the top four.

With one of Rakitic’s leading complaints at his current club being the lack of continental football on offer, it seems unlikely he would opt for the Reds over the Red Devils in January, as the latter can grant him immediate access to the Champions League.

This standpoint may be reversed in the summer, with the Merseysiders looking the far more likely of the rival duo to nail a seat at Europe’s top table next term and with such an exorbitant fee being mooted, this is the likeliest time when a deal can be struck, when the player will only have a year to run on his current contract.

Depending on how much United want to land this target though, they may be tempted to pay the extra money and prevent these extenuating factors coming into it. It’s unarguable that they are the team that requires a player of this calibre more and, should they snare him in January, their current odds of 6/4 to finish in the top four will definitely appreciate in value.

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James Middleton