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Man Utd must up chase of available European key pass maestro

Only Marseille’s Mathieu Valbuena trumps Ivan Rakitic in terms of successful key passes across Europe’s top five leagues so far this season and therefore it is no wonder why he is being pursued by a number of leading clubs.

Rakitic only has 18 months remaining on his Sevilla contract and although the club have taken 13 points from the last 15 available in La Liga, their unlikeliness of qualifying for the Champions League must dampen his enthusiasm to sign an extension.

The fact Sevilla sold Alvaro Negredo, Jesus Navas and Geoffrey Kondogbia in the summer, among others, is hardly a sign of big future plans either, with Kevin Gamiero the only signing that showed any sort of intent.

Despite these sales, it is thought that Seville are not in the strongest financial position and given that Rakitic has not played in the Champions League this season, his availability for the competition may make him more sought after than other midfielders in January.

PSG are towards the front of the queue to sign the Croatian, but Manchester United are also interested and much could come down to whether Sevilla are prepared to sell for less than Rakitic’s €40m buyout clause.

Graham Hunter has suggested that Rakitic is more likely to leave La Liga in January than Cristian Tello, Koke or Diego Costa and he has already racked up over 200 club appearances and 59 international caps, despite being just 25 years old.

Not naturally a defensive player or truly a number 10 in the same fashion as a David Silva or a Mesut Ozil, he could be an asset in more of a box-to-box role or even on the right side of a three-pronged attack, with some licence to roam.

The Premier League title looks gone for Man Utd this season, but they may offer some value at 6/4 to finish in the top four.